A faded country music musician Bad Blake is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life during a doomed romance that also inspires him. We first see Bad struggling from town to town playing in small venues the first being a run down bowling alley.
The second in a bar which leads him to meet journalist Jean who seems to know a lot about him, it is not clear whether this was due to research for the article or that she was a fan of his music and/or him. But we are shown into his life of drinking Whiskey and just managing to get by. Doing the concerts in very small places often in the middle of nowhere and sleeping in horrible motel’s. His car looks like it might actually fall apart at any second and his manager trying to get him to write songs again. Blake doesn’t want to write songs anymore he feels he has written enough and the old stuff is all still good.
His womanizing ways come to a stop when he gets quite serious about Jean rather quickly and loves her 4-year-old son Buddy. It turns out he has not seen his own son since he was 4 years old and he is now 27. But his drinking causes everything to go totally wrong. When Jean and Buddy visit Bad and he takes Buddy out for the day, he cannot resist going into a bar for a drink. Buddy then disappears and Bad must find him. Jean obviously is extremely mad with Bad and when Buddy returns leaves him and goes back to her home.
She does not want to talk to him or see him again. Bad then decides that he needs to sort his life out and start by getting himself sober. This involves going to a rehab clinic, he is helped through this tough time by an old friend. He starts to write songs again for a singer he launched the career of Tommy Steele. He even starts to perform again and eventually begins to get success.
Towards the end when it forwards 16 months you can pretty much see how the ending is going to go. With Jean now a journalist and went to the concert to see Bad. They talk at the end, a part of me wanted to see them get back together at the end (yes I do have some romance left in me) but at the same time that wouldn’t have worked out with what happened between them in the past. I thought it was quite heart breaking that Bad decided it was best not to see Buddy even though he was there. But giving Jean a cheque for him when he turned 18 was just lovely.
Seeing this film a few days after Jeff Bridges won his Oscar for best actor in a leading role probably gave the film added pressure with having that tag. But it did not disappoint me and I really thought Bridges was just brilliant as he was so believable and your heart really went out to him. You felt sorry for him, when really you shouldnt as he did bring everything on himself. Maggie Gyllenhaal was just fantastic as well in the supporting role to Bridges. She really helped to bring out even more in his performance.
Country music is not a popular genre in the UK. But I really got into it whilst living out in the USA, mainly because one day when driving the only radio station I could pick up was a country station. But I found the songs so deep and meaningful. All telling a story, mainly about heart-break. So you have to be careful when you choose to listen to country music. But I found it very good in this film and will be purchasing the soundtrack very soon!