Born To Be Blue (2016) - Rotten Tomatoes

Born To Be Blue (2016)



Critic Consensus: Born to Be Blue benefits from a highlight-reel performance from Ethan Hawke and an impressionistic, non-hagiographic approach to Chet Baker's life and times.

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Ethan Hawke lights up the screen as jazz legend Chet Baker, whose tumultuous life is thrillingly reimagined with wit, verve, and style to burn. In the 1950s, Baker was one of the most famous trumpeters in the world, renowned as both a pioneer of the West Coast jazz scene and an icon of cool. By the 1960s, he was all but washed up, his career and personal life in shambles due to years of heroin addiction. In his innovative anti-biopic, director Robert Budreau zeroes in on Baker's life at a key moment in the 1960s, just as the musician attempts to stage a hard-fought comeback, spurred in part by a passionate romance with a new flame (Carmen Ejogo). Creatively blending fact with fiction and driven by Hawke's virtuoso performance, Born to Be Blueunfolds with all the stylistic brio and improvisatory genius of great jazz.

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Ethan Hawke
as Chet Baker
Carmen Ejogo
as Jane / Elaine
Tony Nappo
as Officer Reid
Dan Lett
as Danny Friedman
Kedar Brown
as Miles Davis
Kevin Hanchard
as Dizzy Gilespie
Tony Nardi
as Nicholas
Joe Condren
as Actor Dick
Joe Cobden
as Actor Dick
Nat Leone
as Jenny
Barbara Eve Harris
as Elsie Azuka
Eugene Clark
as Henry Azuka
Bruno Rocca
as Italian Prison Guard
Mark Fraser
as Prothodontist
Geoff McCausland
as Bassist Peter
Chip Keen
as Sax Steve
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Critic Reviews for Born To Be Blue

All Critics (116) | Top Critics (40)

Ejogo makes vivid work of that dread device, the composite character. Hawke, film-star handsome but unable to match the ruined angel looks of his alter-ego, still manages to summon up his lost-boy charisma.

December 27, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Born to be Blue is perhaps a too-clever fictionalised take on the life of the jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, although Ethan Hawke's performance as the musician is as compelling as it is painful.

October 10, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Hawke portrays Baker as a little boy lost: selfish, sweet, insecure, arrogant, impossible to live with.

July 25, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Becomes so wedded to stodgy melodrama that you wind up thinking it's a bore to be that blue and just want to hear the man play.

July 24, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The occasional lows only serve to illustrate what a minefield the genius biopic can be - and how Born to be Blue skips through the genre more nimbly than most.

July 24, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

You feel closer to Chet than you did coming in - and is this Hawke's greatest role?

July 24, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Born To Be Blue

A mature romance/biopic that takes an anguishing look at the life of a self-destructive artist struggling to have his old life back after becoming a heroin addict, with Ethan Hawke conveying an exceptionally nuanced combination of arrogance, vulnerability and determination.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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