Otis “Bad” Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a 57-year-old alcoholic singer and songwriter who was once a country music star. Today, he earns a modest income by singing and playing his guitar in small-town bars in the southwestern United States. Having a history of failed marriages (four of which he admits, despite being seen as having a fifth marriage, which he does not discuss), Otis has no family. He has a son, 28 years old and he has not had contact with him for 24 years. He spent his time performing on the street, staying in cheap motels and traveling his old ’78 Suburban alone. The film opens with his arrival at a bowling alley for his performance.
Enter Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a young journalist, divorced with a four-year-old son, Buddy (Jack Nation). He interviewed Otis one night after his concert, and later as they became close, Jean went back on a date to gather more material, and the two were on close terms. Jean and his son became the catalyst for Otis to start reinvigorating his life and career. In doing so, Otis allows himself to be encouraged to renew his professional relationship with Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), the popular and successful country music star he once mentored and played as the opening act for at one of Tommy’s concerts, even though he refused and would destroy his reputation as a singer. opening concert of a former student. Otis asked Tommy to record an album with him, but Tommy informed him that his record company insisted on making several more solo albums before a duet project could be recorded. Tommy instead suggested that Otis concentrate on writing new songs that Tommy could record himself, telling him that Otis wrote better songs than anyone else.
Otis gets drunk and loses control, then he ends up in an accident while drunk driving. At the hospital, the doctor told him that although he only had a broken ankle in the accident, Otis was slowly killing himself, and would have to stop drinking and smoking and lose 25 pounds if he was to live more than a few more years. Otis’ relationship with Jean makes him start to rethink his life. He called his son to make amends, then his son told him that his mother, Otis’ ex-wife, had died, and hung up on him. The relationship began to improve and Jean and her son often visited Otis. When there is a situation where Blake almost loses Jean’s son in a shopping center while drinking at a bar, Jean breaks up with him.
After losing Jean and his son, who became the only family, Otis decided to stop drinking. After undergoing a treatment program at a rehab center and with the support of the Alcoholics Anonymous community and his longtime friend Wayne (Robert Duvall), Otis has finally recovered. After correcting his actions, he tries to reconnect with Jean, but Jean tells him that the best thing he can do for him and Buddy is to leave them alone. After losing Jean, Otis finishes writing the song he thinks is best for him, “The Weary Kind”, and sells it to Tommy.
Sixteen months later, Tommy sings “The Weary Kind” to his loyal audience, while Otis is backstage when his manager delivers a hefty list of royalties for the song. As Otis leaves, Jean approaches him, informing him that Jean has come to the concert as a writer for a major music publication. Otis sees an engagement ring on Jean’s finger and tells her he deserves a good man. Otis offers him money from a royalty check Buddy submitted for his 18th birthday, which Jean initially refuses but accepts after Otis informs him that the song would not exist without them. Jean asks if Otis wants to see Buddy again, but Otis refuses and tells him that it might bother Buddy too much. The film ends with Jean asking Otis for another interview, leaving the viewer to wonder if they can regrow their relationship. They left the concert, happy and chatting with each other.