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Running Time:
1 hr. 38 min.

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for drug use, language, some sexuality and brief violence

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
The naturalistic dialogue and loose narrative structure make for a film that feels as improvised and authentic as its music.

Additional Info:
CAST:
Ethan Hawke ... Chet Baker
Carmen Ejogo ... Jane
Callum Keith Rennie ... Dick
Tony Nappo ... Officer Reid
Stephen McHattie ... Dad
Janet-Laine Green ... Mom
Dan Lett ... Danny Friedman
Natassia Halabi ... Jenny
Kevin Hanchard ... Dizzy Gillespie
Katie Boland ... Sarah
Janine Theriault ... Florence



Born to Be Blue
We first meet Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) reaching out to a hallucinatory tarantula crawling out of his trumpet in an Italian jail in 1966. Then we’re quickly back to black-and-white 1954, at the Birdland club in New York City. Baker’s about to play his first double bill with Miles Davis (Kedar Brown) and Dizzy Gillespie (Kevin Hanchard). And he kills it.

But Baker is a heroin addict. Even after his manager drops him the musician doesn’t feel entirely out of the game until his dealer has some goons send him a bloody message. Baker’s teeth are knocked out. He can’t play anymore. And that’s when things really go terribly wrong.

Writer-director Robert Budreau, making his feature debut, portrays Baker as having a friendly relationship with heroin. When explaining to his girlfriend, aspiring actress Jane (Carmen Ejogo), how essential the trumpet is to his very being, Baker tells the story of how he went to audition for Charlie Parker, another addict, and that the Bird chose him without even trying out the others. Regarding their shared pastime, Baker says, “He never hurt anybody but himself. Just like me.” Later, Baker gets clean, and then talks his way in to another chance to play for Miles and Dizzy at Birdland. But he’s terrified to play sober.

Ethan Hawke is terrific as the jazz legend, so soft-spoken that he sometimes appears a little frightened of the people around him. His resemblance to Baker helps, and somehow Hawke even seems to have aged with the raggedness of an addict. He sings — wonderfully, if not with Chet’s flourishes — and manages to make Baker confident yet self-effacing. 

Born to Be Blue documents not only Baker’s addiction and comeback, but also the daddy issues that perhaps lent to the his lack of ego. When he brings Jane to his parents’ farm so he can practice trumpet with his dentures in a quiet setting, his father (Stephen McHattie) greets them by immediately referring to her as a “colored girl.” And when the couple leaves, he responds to Baker’s gift of a favorite record that his dad used to sing by remarking on his son’s version: “But why’d you have to sing like a girl?” When Baker gets his back up and says that at least he never quit, Pops answers, “But I never embarrassed my family.” With exchanges like this, Baker’s drug habit seemed inevitable.

Born to Be Blue is a romance as well as a biopic, with Chet and Jane at the center of the adversity swirling around them. They’re loving, but not without problems; his neediness and vulnerabilities and her disappointments and desire for some freedom to pursue her professional interests are forces ever threatening to break them apart. Carmen Ejogo as the put-upon and sometimes brokenhearted woman is one you’ll care about almost as much as you do about Baker himself. An on-screen footnote at the film’s end lets you know that heroin wasn’t the direct cause of Baker’s death. But even more surprisingly is how much that deadly drug may have even helped him succeed.





 

We first meet Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) reaching out to a hallucinatory tarantula crawling out of his trumpet in an Italian jail in 1966. Then we’re yanked back to black-and-white 1954, at the Birdland club in New York City. Baker’s about to play his first double bill with Miles Davis (Kedar Brown) and Dizzy Gillespie (Kevin Hanchard). And he kills it.

But Baker is a heroin addict. Even after his manager drops him (“Jazz is changing, Dylan went electric …”), the musician doesn’t feel entirely out of the game until his dealer has some goons send him a bloody message. Baker’s teeth are knocked out. He can’t play anymore. And that’s when things really go south.

Writer-director Robert Budreau, making his feature debut, portrays Baker as having a friendly relationship with heroin. When explaining to his girlfriend, aspiring actress Jane (Carmen Ejogo, “Selma”), how essential the trumpet is to his very being, Baker tells the story of how he went to audition for Charlie Parker, another addict, and that the Bird chose him without even trying out the others. Regarding their shared pastime, Baker says, “He never hurt anybody but himself. Just like me.” Later, Baker gets clean, and then talks his way in to another chance to play for Miles and Dizzy at Birdland. But he’s terrified to play sober.

Hawke is terrific as the jazz legend, so soft-spoken that he sometimes appears a little frightened of the people around him. His resemblance to Baker helps, and somehow Hawke even seems to have aged with the raggedness of an addict. He sings — wonderfully, if not with Chet’s flourishes — and manages to make Baker confident yet self-effacing. And for once, the actor isn’t irritating.

- See more at: http://www.thewrap.com/born-to-be-blue-review-ethan-hawke-chet-baker/#.dpuf

We first meet Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) reaching out to a hallucinatory tarantula crawling out of his trumpet in an Italian jail in 1966. Then we’re yanked back to black-and-white 1954, at the Birdland club in New York City. Baker’s about to play his first double bill with Miles Davis (Kedar Brown) and Dizzy Gillespie (Kevin Hanchard). And he kills it.

But Baker is a heroin addict. Even after his manager drops him (“Jazz is changing, Dylan went electric …”), the musician doesn’t feel entirely out of the game until his dealer has some goons send him a bloody message. Baker’s teeth are knocked out. He can’t play anymore. And that’s when things really go south.

- See more at: http://www.thewrap.com/born-to-be-blue-review-ethan-hawke-chet-baker/#.dpuf

We first meet Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) reaching out to a hallucinatory tarantula crawling out of his trumpet in an Italian jail in 1966. Then we’re yanked back to black-and-white 1954, at the Birdland club in New York City. Baker’s about to play his first double bill with Miles Davis (Kedar Brown) and Dizzy Gillespie (Kevin Hanchard). And he kills it.

But Baker is a heroin addict. Even after his manager drops him (“Jazz is changing, Dylan went electric …”), the musician doesn’t feel entirely out of the game until his dealer has some goons send him a bloody message. Baker’s teeth are knocked out. He can’t play anymore. And that’s when things really go south.

- See more at: http://www.thewrap.com/born-to-be-blue-review-ethan-hawke-chet-baker/#.dpuf






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