Born To Be Blue – Rated R

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Starring Ethan Hawke and Carmen Ejogo

 Writer and Director Robert Budreau takes the subject of his short film in 2009, and sends you deeper into the musical comeback and love life of Los Angeles blues sensation CHET BAKER with his new film ~ BORN TO BE BLUE.

At the peak of his career, and having the opportunity to star in his own biography, we meet Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke), trying to prove he can act, along with being the trumpet virtuoso of the West Coast. Reliving his own life to be played out on the big screen, Baker starts taking a fancy to his costar Jane (Carmen Ejogo) playing his wife Elaine in the film.

As their romance ensues, Baker is visited by some monsters from his past, which beat him beyond repair. Struggling to come to terms with the fact that he may not be able to play again, Jane stands by her man, as Baker decides that, somehow, someway, he will play his trumpet again.

With Jane by his side, focusing her energy on nursing him back to health, Chet spends hours each day trying to become the man he once was.

Struggling with the insecurities that have plagued him throughout his life, and career, Chet focuses on finding a way to marry his girl, and make his way back to becoming the trumpeter extraordinaire that the world is waiting for…

I give BORN TO BE BLUE a rating between: WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD or NETFLIX: Having already had to opportunity to view the upcoming film on Miles Davis ~ MILES AHEAD ~ I was in the mood to take on this biopic as well, knowing that both of these gentleman were bound and determined to be #1 in the East and West Coast 60’s Jazz scene. Hawke gives a gripping performance as Baker, showing once again that he divulges himself deep into each and every role he takes on. Ejogo is outstanding too, playing the one women in Chet’s life that truly loves him ~ in every way that you can love a man. So with all this glowing sentiment so far – why the less than average rating?? Even though I enjoyed viewing both Hawke and Ejogo in their respective roles, this film takes its good ol’ time getting anywhere, seeming to take away from the intensity that should be evolving on screen. It is so slow in getting where it needs to go, that it’s 1 hour and 37 minutes seemed to play out 2+ hours easily. I was also hoping for a little more pizazz with the music being performed on screen, but in Hawke’s defense, those weren’t actually his notes he was playing, they were Baker’s tracks, so I guess I wanted more from the actual trumpeter himself. But know too, that the singing in this film is all Hawke’s, and it wasn’t so bad ~ but it wasn’t SO GOOD either, leaving me no choice but to give this musical interpretative film this subpar rating.

Kathy Kaiser