What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Crazy Heart -- which follows a middle-aged musician's (Jeff Bridges) failing career and the major drinking problem that's contributing to that failure -- is clearly aimed at grown-ups. Unless teens have an interest in classic country music (or in actor Colin Farrell, who has a small supporting role), it's unlikely that they'll be clamoring to see it. In the event that they are, they'll find plenty of food for thought and some good music ... as well as some very strong language (especially during the movie's first half) and tons of drinking (including drunk driving), until the main character has an important wake-up call.
What's the story?
Country music singer Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) once had a hit song but now languishes in obscurity, playing dive bars and bowling alleys, drinking constantly, and feeling bitter about the success of his one-time protégé Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell). After one show, Bad meets music journalist Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and makes a connection with her and her 4-year-old son, Buddy. He agrees to reconcile with Tommy and begins playing bigger shows, but he can't keep his drinking under control. He eventually hits rock bottom, but can he still turn his life around? And if so, at what price?
Is it any good?
Like a good country song, CRAZY HEART has an appealing, easygoing vibe for most of its running time, despite Bad's severe drinking problem. Likewise, it never puts the audience through the ringer with too much melodrama; each of the plot turns happens very matter-of-factly and organically, as if natural extensions of the characters.
Bridges is the real selling point here. He gives a wonderfully layered performance, full of joy and pain and weariness. Supporters Gyllenhaal, Farrell, and Robert Duvall are terrific as well -- Bridges, Farrell, and Duvall can even be heard doing their own singing. The movie derails in the final stretch as Bad finally embarks on the road to recovery; it's a bit too fast and neat and more than a little proud of itself. But until then, it's a nice little movie.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the conseqeunces of drinking a lot. Does it lead to alcoholism? What are the consequences Bad pays for drinking? How does the media usually portray drinking?
How does Bad's alcoholism impact his relationships with others (including Tommy and Jean)? What about his feelings about himself?