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What does 'let it bleed' mean in the following sentence?

Though the actors give their all, notably Stellan Skarsgård as the brother of the missing Harriet and Joely Richardson as an estranged relative, the film hangs back when you want it to come out swinging. Only Mara lets it bleed. Her defensive, bruised-animal performance inexorably draws you in.

Is it common enough in daily conversation or English texts? I have seen it before, but it also in a film review (and The Rolling Stones album). Could you give me another example of its use in a sentence? If possible, the origin of the phrase would be nice too.

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I don't think this figurative let it bleed has any significant currency or clear-cut meaning. If it weren't for the Stones album, OP's author would probably never have used those words. And I think the album title never really meant anything anyway - it was just by way of quirky contrast to the Beatles Let It Be, that was being produced around the same time. –  FumbleFingers Dec 29 '11 at 23:40

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It means that only Mara can perform so passionately that it draws everyone's attention. "The team let it bleed to victory." meaning the team played so passionately that they won.

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I think there might be an oblique reference to the idiom wear your heart on your sleeve. –  Brett Reynolds Dec 30 '11 at 12:23
Yes u r right :) –  Apoorva Jan 3 '12 at 5:00

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