Crazy Heart

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Main actors: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhall, Robert Duvall, Ryan Bingham. Director: Scott Cooper. Based on novel by Thomas Cobb, who co-wrote screenplay with Scott Cooper

FILM SYNOPSIS: Jeff Bridges portrays Bad Blake, a middle-aged, alcoholic country singer who travels from one dusty western town to another for one-night gigs in bowling alleys and sleazy bars. His sole companion is a bottle of whiskey until he meets a journalist, Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhall) in Santa Fe. Jean is captivated by the much older Bad, and he feels he now has a chance to find happiness with her and her four-year-old son, Buddy (Jack Nation).

Sounds kind of corny, doesnít it? Well, it isnít. Bridgesí honest, low-key performance makes Bad Blake memorable and believable, especially his attempts to turn his life around, which are sometimes heartbreaking. All is not grim, however. The songs of T-Bone Burnett, Steve Bruton and Ryan Bingham (who plays Tony, a young, successful singer mentored by Bad) are first class. Bridges and Bingham perform several numbers together. Bridges has been nominated for best actor by the Broadcast Film Critics and Golden Globe.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Crazy Heart is definitely for mature audiences only. The ďRĒ rating is for offensive language and one fairly graphic sex scene between Bad and Jean. At least 20 f- and s-words, many crude expressions and, worst of all, more than 20 strong profanities will offend many. Saturating dialogue with excessive ďrealismĒ is over-rated and will probably affect box office success.

To be fair, however, the realism argument might be made about Badís ongoing drunkenness, but that is the very core of the story - his need for redemption. His destructive drinking is the villain that makes this talented entertainer disgusting and unattractive. Jean sees Badís pain and loneliness behind his drinking, but makes it clear at the beginning of their relationship that he cannot drink in front of Buddy. Can 57-year-old Bad stop drinking before he loses a chance for love and stability? Robert Duvall has a small role as Badís friend Wayne who encourages him to get help. Duvallís classic 1983 Tender Mercies might be an alternative to Crazy Heart.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Fox Searchlight

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: At least 10 crude insults to express anger

Obscene Language: At least 20 f- and s-words.

Profanity: Too many to count, but at least 11 G-dís, and 3 J-Cís

Violence: One car accident causing broken leg and brain concussion

Sex: Sex implied (couple in bed); unmarried couple have ongoing affair, with one graphic sex scene without nudity

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Heavy drinking, alcoholism shown as destructive

Other: Story of redemption, friendships

Running Time: 151 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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