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Monday, March 8, 2010

"Crazy Heart" Attempts to Model the Life of an Addict

Jeff Bridges plays an alcoholic, Maggie Gyllenhaal costars. (Lorey Sebastian / Fox Searchlight)

Over the years there have been many films that have attempted to tackle the subject of alcoholism. Certain films inject an alcoholic into the script without ever elaborating on the disease of alcoholism and what operates behind it; what happens is that the public develops inaccurate opinions of addicts and what kind of people they are. There have been movies, like "28 Days", that have attempted to model life inside a treatment facility; it paints a fairly accurate picture of what it is like being thrown into a group of people you have never met and are asked to share your deepest darkest secrets with them. "Leaving Las Vegas" chronicles the life of an alcoholic who is hell bent on drinking himself to death. The power of film is in its ability to shape the way we interpret things we encounter in our own lives, the more accurate the portrayal the more accurate the opinion that is developed.

Jeff Bridges recently starred in the movie "Crazy Heart" which attempts to model the life of an alcoholic. Bridges' character, Otis "Bad" Blake is a 57-year-old country singer and songwriter whose life has begun to spiral out of control. He is a chain smoking alcoholic who can't go more than a couple hours without whiskey and suffers from blackouts and excessive vomiting. While working in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Bridges' character becomes involved with a newspaper reporter who has a four year old son. The movie works to show how unmanageable the addict's life can be, car accidents and broken bones are common events in the alcoholic's life. While in the hospital doctors tell him that if he doesn't stop drinking and smoking he'll end up with emphysema, heart failure, cancer or a stroke. Naturally, the addict is not easily convinced and he continues drinking until his life becomes even more dysfunctional and he checks himself into a detox rehab program where he is given antabuse (a drug that makes you sick if you consume alcohol wile on it) and he admits that he is an alcoholic.

Last evening Jeff Bridges won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in "Crazy Heart". Knowing this, what are your thoughts, do you feel like this film is accurate in portraying the life of an alcoholic/addict? Let us know what you thought of the movie.

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