Review: Bridges fearless in 'Crazy Heart'

LOS ANGELES In "Crazy Heart," Bridges plays a chain-smoking alcoholic singer who's sure seen better days. It looks like he's on the verge of drinking himself to death when the film starts, but it didn't take me long to actually start rooting for the guy to pull himself out of where he's clearly heading.

The other characters in the film care about him, too -- including a friend played by /*Robert Duvall*/ and a journalist (/*Maggie Gyllenhaal*/) who's interested in more than a story.

Bridges maneuvers his character to the lowest of lows, but when he performs -- and he does his own singing, by the way -- you sense all the talent that's there, often hidden beneath an alcoholic haze.

Bridges looks terrible for much of this film. He's bloated and unkempt, and you can almost smell the alcohol coming from his pores. But as a movie-goer, you can also sniff out what a great performance this is. It's easily one of the year's best.

The supporting players here are all very good, with a special tip of the hat to Colin Farrell. The Irish actor becomes a country music star here, and he also does his own singing.

"Crazy Heart" has a satisfying ending, which is something I always appreciate. But the reason to see it is to watch Bridges in a sometimes sad, always fearless performance.

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