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Inspired by the life of Blaze Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas outlaw music movement that spawned the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. The film weaves together three different periods of time, braiding re-imagined versions of Blaze's past, present and future. The different strands explore his love affair with Sybil Rosen; his last, dark night on earth; and the impact of his songs and his death had on his fans, friends, and foes. The braided storyline terminates in a bittersweet ending that acknowledges Blaze's profound highs and lows, as well as the impressions he made on the people who shared his journey.Written by
Ethan Hawke decided to make a biopic of Blaze Foley, a musician who was little known in his lifetime, because he found it important to make a point that it is not only the lives of celebrities that are worth showing on the screen. See more »
When the Van Zandt character describes various dice combinations, he calls two fives "Box Cars". In fact it's two sixes that go by that name. See more »
Delicate and heartfelt portrait of a songwriter by his lover
Blaze is an affectionately told story of songwriter Blaze Foley from the perspective of his wife, who wrote a memoir about him and co-wrote the screenplay with Ethan Hawke. As a result it is very personal, intimate and delicate, especially the love that Blaze and Sybil share. Their time together in the treehouse in the forest, when Blaze begins to write songs, when he conceives his public name, is very much about the opening of two human hearts and though Blaze talks about wanting to be a legend, there are no legends being depicted here just genuine feeling beings learning to express the delicate and precious parts of themselves. Sybil encourages Blaze to share his songs with the world and so they venture out of their intimate paradise.
The world is a bit harder and meaner and Blaze and his crew of singer-songwriters, including Townes Van Sandt, drink excessively. The film certainly does not take a moralistic view of this, but the damage it does to them and their interaction with the world is obvious. Ben Dickey as Blaze is an extremely nuanced and heartfelt performance. He loves with all of himself and he even hides his gifts with the same passion.
There are not many recordings of Blaze in existence, and it is the love of his friends that allows anything of the man's music to have survived. If the film communicates anything above the very moving and involving human drama, it suggests patience, respect and compassion for those on stage trying to communicate something with us that is complex, delicate and precious. Our world would be unliveable if people like Blaze did not risk their vulnerability to share their most gentle delicate parts with us. The attempted record company execs who tried to build a label around him didn't get it, though they must have recognised his talent. The audience didn't seem to get it, reacting to his anger and his defensiveness more than his music, but his friends did, and his lover certainly did. And so have the filmmakers, who offer us this delicate portrait in a way that can't be misunderstood, only felt.
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