In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.
Born to be Blue starring Ethan Hawke is a re-imagining of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker's life in the 60's. When Chet stars in a film about himself, a romance heats up with his costar, the enigmatic Jane (Carmen Ejogo). Production is shelved when Chet's past comes back to haunt him and it appears he may never play music again but Jane challenges him to mount a musical comeback against all the odds. Written by
According to Ethan Hawke on the 'WTF Podcast', he wanted to play 'Chet Baker' going back 15 to 20 years before. Richard Linklater, when approached with Hawke by the idea of a biopic, had his own idea of making a Baker film about a day-in-the-life story about the day before Baker tried heroin for the first time. But because the project couldn't gain traction, and Hawke's age not matching up after years of effort of finding a distributor, the idea was dropped. See more »
This movie is a fictional reconstruction of a short period in the life of Baker, during the 60s. Starting with Chet in an Italian jail in 1966, the story quickly moves to New York, where Chet is invited to play himself in a documentary about his life. Then follows one of the most amazing scenes I ever saw.
Opening as a black & white flashback, we see a young Chet in 1954, playing very cool in Birdland, with Miles Davis and Dizzie Gillespie in the audience. In the backstage we see what should be Baker's initiation to heroin, but we discover that the scene is actually part of the documentary.
Brilliant film-making is made of such scenes conveying all the magic of cinema.
The story continues with Chet trying to rebuild his "career" with a help of a female artist, unfortunate enough to be attracted by his relatively good looks and melancholic charm. The pair moves from New York to California, where Chet swear to be clean and ready to play some serious jazz.
Unfortunately, Chet was the master of all junkies, unreliable, selfish and self-destructive. His girlfriend wisely dumps him and off he goes to enjoy the company of heroin until the day he died.
I am not a jazz fan and never heard any of the music Baker played, so I cannot comment about the remarks about the music not being good enough or even detrimental to the movie. For me it was a very well written and executed film, with a solid plot and good performances.
PS: as far as "blackening the reputation" of Baker... I never understood why junkie musicians should be idolized. The history of contemporary music is paved with unpleasant, self-destructive characters who had exceptional musical skills. Egotism does not make them any less talented, but certainly does not add to their charm.
If you want to see what years of heroin addiction do to the body, just check the photos of Chet from his early 20s until the end of his life. The crevasses on his face mirrors the destruction of his internal organs....
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