Crazy Heart is a song we've heard before - a world-weary and broken man finds redemption. Even as it strums familiar chords, it comes with a warm recognition. The music biopic may be a well-worn road, but this fictional one still resonates.

Crazy Heart is a song we've heard before - a world-weary and broken man finds redemption. Even as it strums familiar chords, it comes with a warm recognition. The music biopic may be a well-worn road, but this fictional one still resonates.

Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a grizzled country singer, driving from gig to gig in an old Silverado and living from bottle to bottle. His faded career leaves him playing in dive bars and bowling alleys, resentful in the shadow of a former protege (Colin Farrell) whose good looks and stage presence have him playing to tens of thousands.

Bad's interview with a comely newspaper reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal) leads to an unlikely romance, and the oft-married singer finds himself longing for connections his life has long been denied.

Bridges alone makes this film worthwhile. His performance is worthy of its accolades, made more astounding by the fact that he's actually singing these amazing songs. The heartbreak of his raging drunk isn't subtle, but it's still effective.

First-time director Scott Cooper may join rookie Tom Ford (A Single Man) in the Oscar race. His love and reverence for the material and the world of "real country" is evident.

Only a few stumbles keep the film from greatness. Gyllenhaal's reporter falls into bed and love too easily, and the music angle is sometimes overcome by the portrait of an alcoholic.

It's still a fine old song, though, and well worth a listen.