Crazy Heart is a 2009 American musical-drama film, written and directed by Scott Cooper and based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Thomas Cobb. Jeff Bridges plays a down-and-out country music singer-songwriter who tries to turn his life around after beginning a relationship with a young journalist portrayed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Other supporting roles are played by Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, and child actor Jack Nation. Bridges, Farrell, and Duvall also sing in the film. The film's main character, Bad Blake played by Jeff Bridges, is based on a combination of Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard. The writer-director Cooper initially wanted to do a biopic on Haggard but found the rights to his life story were too difficult to obtain. The novel on which the film was based, was actually inspired by country singer Hank Thompson. Bridges earned the 2009 Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film. Filming took place during 2008 in New Mexico (Albuquerque, EspaÃ±ola, Galisteo, Santa Fe), in Houston, Texas, and in Los Angeles, California. Original music for the film was composed by T-Bone Burnett, Stephen Bruton, Ryan Bingham and others. Bingham and Burnett received the 2009 Academy Award for Best Original Song for co-writing "The Weary Kind", which Bingham also performed. The film was produced for $7 million by Country Music Television, and was originally acquired by Paramount Vantage for a direct-to-video release, but was later purchased for theatrical distribution by Fox Searchlight Pictures. It opened in limited release in the U.S. on December 16, 2009.
Otis "Bad" Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a 57-year-old alcoholic singer-songwriter who was once a country music star. He now earns a modest living by singing and playing his guitar at one-night stands, in small town bars, in the southwestern United States. Having a history of failed marriages (four that he admitted to, although Jean said five) Blake is without a family. He has a son, aged 28, with whom he has not had contact in 24 years. He is mostly on the road performing, staying in cheap motels and traveling in his old car alone. The film opens with his arrival at a bowling alley for a show. Enter Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a young journalist after a story, divorced and with a four-year-old son, Buddy (Jack Nation). She interviews Blake, and the two enter into a relationship. Jean and her son become a catalyst for Blake beginning to get his life back on track. In doing so, he lets himself be pushed into renewing a professional relationship with Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), a popular and successful country music star he once mentored, and plays as the opening act at one of Tommy's concerts, despite his initial balking and wounded pride at being the opening act to his former student. He asks Tommy to record an album with him, but Tommy says his record company insists on a couple more solo albums before a duet project can be recorded. He instead suggests that Blake concentrate on writing new songs that Tommy can record solo, telling him he writes better songs than anyone else. Blake's drinking soon gets out of control, and he ends up running off the road while driving drunk. In the hospital, the doctor informs him that although he only sustained a broken ankle from the crash, he is slowly killing himself, and must stop drinking and smoking and lose 25 pounds if he wants to live more than a few more years. Blake's relationship with Jean makes him start to rethink his life. He calls up his son to make amends, only to have his son tell him that his mother, Bad's ex-wife, has died, and hangs up on him. The relationship starts to look up, with Jean visiting him with her son Buddy. After a situation where Blake loses Buddy briefly at a shopping mall while drinking at a bar, Jean breaks up with him. After losing Jean and her son, who were becoming his only family, Blake resolves to quit drinking. After going through a treatment program at a rehab center, and with support from his Alcoholics Anonymous group and his old friend Wayne (Robert Duvall), Blake finally manages to get sober. Having cleaned up his act, he tries to reunite with Jean, but she tells him that the best thing he can do for her and Buddy is to leave them alone. After losing Jean, Blake finishes writing a song that he thinks is his best ever, "The Weary Kind", and sells it to Tommy. Sixteen months later, Tommy plays "The Weary Kind" to an appreciative audience while Blake watches backstage, as his manager presents him with another of the large royalty checks for the song. As Blake is leaving, Jean approaches him, saying she has come to the show as writer for a large music publication. As they catch up, Blake sees an engagement ring on Jean's finger and tells her that she deserves a good man. He offers her the money from that royalty check for Buddy to have for his 18th birthday, which Jean initially refuses but eventually accepts after Blake says the song wouldn't exist without them. Jean asks if Blake would like to see Buddy again, but Blake declines saying it might be too unsettling for the young boy. The film ends with them walking away from the concert and chatting to each other.