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film review

Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker in Born to Be Blue.

Chet Baker, in his prime the James Dean of jazz, is shown as a musically gifted junkie, a childlike outsider and a needy jerk in a dreamy bio-drama from the Canadian writer-director Robert Budreau. The trumpeter is played by Ethan Hawke, who intimately and sensitively portrays a musician who always played it softly himself. We see an artist humbled and pained – only comfortable within his own blue notes and an accompanying heroin-based haze. Budreau constructs with imagination and pleasing fluidity, painting a portrait with a soft, sympathetic focus while steering clear of worship.