2009. Directed by Scott Cooper
When the lights fade on a star is a fairly common theme in film. Scott Cooper's Crazy Heart is a raw, human, and ultimately uplifting entry into the genre.
Jeff Bridges gives the performance of a lifetime as Otis "Bad" Blake, an alcoholic fallen country music legend. The film is his story, as he hits rock bottom and not only turns his life around, but discovers love and self respect in the process.
His redemption begins when he starts a relationship with a single mother reporter, played with disarming simplicity by the amazing Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Colin Farrell plays Bad's former protege' who is now in the spotlight and their small amount of screen time together is, like the rest of the film, amazingly simple and open in it's heartbreak and forgiveness.
Aside from Bridges' performance, the other main player is the original score. Featuring music by Stephen Burton, T Bone Burnett, and Ryan Bingham, Crazy Heart's story is narrated by the bluesy, outlaw country ballads that are impossible to not fall in love with. Burnett and Bingham's "The Weary Kind" would go on to win Best Original Song at the Oscars and it's one of the most well deserved in some time.
Cooper's patient refusal to shy away from a man's deconstruction is perfect and supports the amazing performances allowing a rather simple tale to rise above it's basic structure. Barry Markowitz's cinematography captures everything: The booze, the cigarette smoke, the stadiums, and most importantly life itself.
The film's conclusion is part of it's undeniable charm. It's quiet, intimate, and heartwarming. This is a film that's not making grand statements, it's whispering to your heart if you're willing to listen.
One of Bad's final lines always stays with me, because its truly sums ups that you're never out of the fight and there will always be light, no matter how dark the night.
"Still gotta a little gas in the tank".
I like to think that Crazy's Heart message is that all of us, indeed are never done with our journeys.