Jeff Bridges recalls the laconic, comfortable-in-his-own-skin vibe of Kris Kristofferson as the washed-up country singer Bad Blake who is now reduced to playing bowling alleys. Now, Bad suffers the professional shame of opening for bigger acts like Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), the younger, studlier country star who turns Bad’s heartfelt lyrics into billboard hits. But few have made washing up on life’s shoals as inherently interesting or made it look as poetic as Jeff Bridges in this career-defining role. Bad is pulled out of his contended stupor — and away from an eternity of motel room tête-à-têtes with a coven of bar flies — courtesy of a Santa Fe newspaper reporter Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal). An interview in Bad’s motel room snowballs into another, and then a relationship, and the slow insinuation of Bad into Jean and her young son Buddy’s life. One of the most affecting dimensions to Crazy Heart
is how it so resolutely refuses to tie up its story with a neat bow. No one secures fame, relationships peter out, and family happiness is not necessarily restored. Crazy Heart
has the mellow, believable gait of real life, and sometimes the truth is better than any reassuring fiction.