Born to Be Blue, which premiered last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival, is not a traditional biopic. Instead of providing a literal, note-for-note depiction of legendary jazz trumpet player Chet Baker’s life, the film opts instead to, as Variety put it in its review, treat Baker’s life “as though it were merely a chord chart from which to launch an improvised set of new melodies.” Reviews from TIFF praised Hawke’s performance, and Variety even said this is one of the best performances of Hawke’s career. (The Hollywood Reporter put it on par with his turn in Boyhood.)
For all the movie’s departures from traditional biopic form, the trailer does contain quite a few thematic and visual clichés. (Such charm, such great talent, such a tragic, drug-laden fall.) But the story looks captivating, and Hawke seems magnetic in the role, and even charming as he sings “My Funny Valentine.” The movie is due out March 25.