This is about a washed-up country musician (Jeff Bridges) so I would have seen it anyway, if just for the soundtrack. I don’t often read reviews before seeing a film but due to the Oscar hype, I unfortunately know the story features the 50 something singer’s relationship with a young-enough-to-be-his-daughter journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) which is more than slightly off-putting. (In the same way it put me off the otherwise quite witty ‘Music & Lyrics’ with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, also watched for the soundtrack potential).
I just don’t understand the appeal of an aging, alcoholic, penniless, chain-smoking, travelling musician with 100’s of one-night stands behind him to a young woman in her prime and I literally had to close my eyes during one intimate scene. It’s like knowing your parents do it but you don’t want to see it.
So whilst I could not believe in that story, especially as we find out said journalist, Jean, has the responsibility of single motherhood, I most certainly understood the rest.
Bridges’ ‘Bad’ Blake is still talented and revered, stooping to playing bowling alleys with the hired house band, looking for a break back into the big time to be able to continue to earn a living and no doubt a little more credibility, although respect he still has. The new kid on the block, Tommy Sweet, played surprisingly well by Colin Farrell, was mentored by Bad and is now a big arena star. The twist is he turns out to be not at all obnoxious and arrogant as I expected.
Possibly the first time I have enjoyed a Farrell performance.
The highlight for me was the live music throughout and whilst the film is well made with brilliant performances from all, I’d have liked the relationship torment to have come from the singer’s estranged and long forgotten 28 year old son who never made an appearance.
7½/10 Smile Factor 8/10