If you are not a country fan it’s too bad you can’t mute the sound at the movie theater. Gwyneth Paltrow: eye sweets for the men…Tim McGraw: eye candy for the ladies. If you are a country music fan Country Strong hit theaters last night and it was all about country music.
Country singing star Kelly Canter (Paltrow) is in rehab due to heavy drinking. During a concert in Dallas Kelly, she falls off stage. The singer is five months pregnant.
During her stay in rehab Kelly meets the charming, handsome singer Beau. Beau sings at a small club on the weekend. He sings for the love of singing, he has no higher ambitions. However, the former ‘Miss Dallas’, Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester) wants the celebrity and everything that goes with her 10 minutes. Kelly’s husband who is also her manager gets Kelly released from rehabaholic early.
Gwyneth Paltrow plays Kelly as tragic from the start. One can feel the hurt she feels about the baby, the fault. Her disorder, as depicted on screen is also spot on, any reason to drink. This is cruel reality and it’s good to see it portrayed as such. Kelly is “wow” and fragile, 2 in 1. Paltrow gives us all of that and more. The movie does not attempt to make a pat answer for Kelly’s alcoholism. She’s an alcoholic. The movie bluntly shows the result though, both in Kelly’s life and the lives of the people around here, who suffer personally and professionally from her relapses.
There is Garrett Hedlund who plays Beau. This man hit Hollywood and had the role in Troy a month later. He use to model before becoming an actor.
Paltrow, Hedlund and Meester all provide their own vocals. Paltrow has sung before on screen (Duets), but not Hedlund, who could likely make a living in honky tonks if this acting cracked. And Country Strong is Hedlund’s strongest role so far, certainly better than playing second violin to a tired Jeff Bridges in the current Tron: Legacy. Tim says he thinks the movie holds up to be authentic.
Check out the soundtrack of this film, with some true country music and some pop (Taylor Swift) type numbers.
Directed and written by: Shana Feste.