Bad Blake (Bridges) is a country singer/songwriter well past his prime, struggling with a drinking problem and reduced to eking out a living playing small venues. Then, a tentative romance with female reporter Jean Craddock (Gyllenhaal) and an unexpected reunion with country mega-star Tommy Sweet (Farrell), who was coming up when Bad was still riding high, inspire the older man both to write again and to address his personal demons. Will Bad make a comeback — and find love in the process?
First and foremost, “Crazy Heart” serves as a fabulous showcase for star Bridges, who snagged a well-deserved Oscar for his portrayal of a broken-down man who suddenly finds reason to seek redemption. Gylllenhaal is also appealing as the love interest, but it’s the mellowing Duvall who gives the film extra ballast and seasoning playing Wayne, the true-blue friend who helps Bad get clean and sober. (Duvall also produced this film, which is reminiscent of his own triumphant “Tender Mercies” twenty-five years earlier). Both Bridges and Duvall also get to sing, and Bridges’ number, “The Weary Kind,” also won an Oscar.