... and why it will resonate with moms.
Lenore Moritz: You don't have to be a washed-up musician to relate to the journey of choices and forgiveness that "Crazy Heart" takes you on. With art, your own life experiences inform how you'll perceive it. Since my life experience now is largely as a mom, I related to "Crazy Heart" from that perspective -- and not just because one of the main characters is a mother. I also connected to Jeff Bridges' Golden Globe-winning character, Bad Blake, and I have never been a down-on-their-luck, whiskey-swilling singer/songwriter, at least not yet.
I'll break down why I heart "Crazy Heart":
The Struggle with Choices: As moms, we all struggle with the idea of doing something we want to do for ourselves versus doing what's in the best interest of our kids. We are constantly weighing options and often making sacrifices in the interest of others. You'll totally relate to Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) as you watch her struggle with her choices. I don't know one parent who doesn't strive to put their child first ... and though we all do this lovingly, we know that it can be at the cost of our own needs falling by the wayside. It's good to see this truth shared so movingly.
Music: I realized I might just like country music after all. I'm a music lover, but never really developed an appreciation for country music, which I thought was all sad-sack lyrics about getting left by a man who was a dog, but was better than nothing. Even when I went to college in Nashville, country music didn't take hold of me ... though I did have loads of fun at a bar that had once been Hank Williams's home.
But the soundtrack for "Crazy Heart" offers country songs with poetic lyrics and soulful music. The music is powerful and as important a player in the narrative as any of the human characters.
One of the first songs I heard in the film starts with lyrics that immediately told me I would connect with these characters: "I used to be somebody, now I'm somebody else." I hear that. I mean, I'm thrilled to be who I am today, but it's most definitely different from who I used to be. That "used to be" somebody was kicking off their heels from a night out at the same hour that today's somebody is negotiating with a 3-year-old over the pros and cons of mixing Lucky Charms with Mini Wheats. Isn't it amazing that somehow, though, you end up being in the perfect place at the perfect time?
Forgiveness: One of the themes of "Crazy Heart" is forgiveness -- and it's something I like being reminded about. I want to be good at forgiving others ... and myself. I especially need to work on forgiving myself. You know those days when you feel like you've been "bad mom" -- we moms can be hard on ourselves. Watching Jean try to work through forgiving seemed kind of familiar, and ultimately we see that forgiving ourselves is vital to growing and moving forward.
The Acting: You've been hearing all the rave reviews for Jeff Bridges. He's so compelling, I felt like I was living in his life (like 3D acting -- I'm right there with him!). I was happy, too, to see that Maggie Gyllenhaal made the New York Times' film critic A.O. Scott's list of Oscar predictions for Best Supporting Actress. Her character is the catalyst for so much that happens -- and it would not have been the same film without such a real portrayal of someone who's both weak and strong at the same time. And Robert Duvall -- a legend.
Scott Cooper -- writer/director of "Crazy Heart" and former actor: I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Scott, and he seems so grounded despite the fact that his very first directing job is wildly successful. I'm inspired by people who get out of their comfort zone and do new things. I asked him how he managed to get it so right on his first try, and he humbly pointed to all the talented actors and crew around him. I don't know if I can totally buy that -- after all, even Meryl Streep couldn't save every film she was in (still, though, I could watch her read cookbooks and enjoy it).
The journey "Crazy Heart" took me on captivated me from opening to closing credits. I ached with the characters, cheered them on, and let their stories hang on my heart long after I left the theater. I know it can be hard to get out to a movie, but this is one that's worth the effort.
|Lenore Moritz is the curator/editor of Mom Culture, a culture fix for your inner grown up. Each Friday, a new artist interview and their art will inspire and energize you. High culture, pop culture and everything in between is covered.|