Born to Be Blue

Robert Budreau’s poignant, minimalist ode to jazz great (and heroin addict) Chet Baker defies the usual rise-and-fall musical biopic formula. His variation on the theme focuses on a few pivotal years in the artist’s fractured life, a rare clean-and-sober period just before his return to heroin (explaining why) and the comeback that would result in his best music. An unshowy Ethan Hawke puts in a magnetic, committed performance as Baker, possibly a career best. And Carmen Ejogo (Selma) does a superb job as a fictitious composite of the women in Baker’s life. This one “gets inside the notes.”

Japanese title: Blue ni umaretsuite. (97 min)