Born To Be Blue

Drama | English| 97 minutes


In a 1954 performance at Birdland, attended by Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, Chet Baker was the jazz world’s hottest sensation. Addicted, Chet lives for two things: to play the trumpet and to shoot heroin. Chet is forced to take a career break when drug dealers, looking to get paid money Chet owes, beat him up and destroy his teeth. This kind of mouth injury can be career-ending for a trumpeter. With the help of his patient wife, Jane, Chet slowly makes a comeback. He remains a heroin addict but this doesn’t prevent him from producing some memorable music and followed by die-hard worshippers.

Ethan Hawke (Chet Baker) / Carmen Ejogo (Jane) / Kevin Hanchard (Dizzy Gillespie) / Kedar Brown (Miles Davis)
Why Stream This Film?

Chet Baker was instrumental in introducing the West Coast style of cool jazz. Singing in a whispery voice and playing the trumpet with a languorous beat, Chet was a huge standout. It’s a very good reason to see this film. 

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 88%
  • Metacritic Score: 64
  • Canadian Screen Awards: Winner, Achievement in Music
  • Directors Guild of Canada: Winner, Production Design
What makes this movie such a refreshing change of pace for this genre is that it doesn’t divide GENIUS CHET from JUNKIE CHET. They’re both degrees of the same well-meaning guy, who knows he has to be sober to be a reliable working musician but is also sure that he can never really cut loose without the drugs to numb him. By reducing Baker’s story to just a couple of pivotal years, Budreau makes every moment matter. Like Baker himself, BORN TO BE FREE finds drama in minimalism.
Noel Murray

Los Angeles Times

In his singing and playing, Chet Baker, who was called THE JAMES DEAN of JAZZ, personified the West Coast style of cool jazz. His voice and trumpet expressed a cosmic languor shaded with romantic melancholy.
Stephen Holden

The New York Times

Ethan Hawke gives one of the best performances of his career.
Andrew Barker


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