Country Strong

"Good"

Country Strong Review


Like last year's Crazy Heart, this film traces the journey of a struggling addict country singer. And while the film is somewhat sentimental and simplistic, it features some strong acting that manages to draw us in.

Nashville superstar Kelly (Paltrow) is released from rehab a month early to get back on the road and make some money. Kelly wants her sponsor Beau (Hedlund) to open her shows, while her husband-manager James (McGraw) also lines up rising-star beauty queen Chiles (Meester). Beau thinks she's just a "country Barbie"; he genuinely cares about Kelly, whose marriage to James has gone cold.

Unsurprisingly, she turns to Beau for comfort and more when her comeback tour doesn't go as expected. And the big finale is in Dallas, where she fell from grace.

The film is warm and engaging from the start, although writer-director Feste starts in with some heavy-handed symbolism, as Kelly is raising a rescued baby bird in a little wooden box. And the film's melodramatic-downer tone includes a corny soap-opera plot that never widens beyond the awkward connections between these four characters. But at least there are enough real-life echoes to help us stay interested. And we recognise the premise from the headlines, with paparazzi hounding Kelly's troubled private life.

Even better are the relaxed performances by all four actors. Paltrow adds surprising depth to a character who seems superficial, and develops believable chemistry with the other actors. The role is a little over-egged, with extreme emotional reactions to everything that happens, but Paltrow makes Kelly likeably brittle. Meanwhile, the original songs are terrific; as with Crazy Heart, they all sound like timeless country classics and are performed with so much personality that they often carry an exhilarating emotional punch.

But the music is constantly interrupted as the story focuses on a range of grim confrontations, alcoholic relapses, messy performances, illicit attraction and flashes of jealousy that come straight from the screenwriter rather than the characters. This means that, while the film is watchable, the lack of real momentum means that it feels mopey and overlong. But there are some great moments along the way that make it worth a look. Or at least worth a listen.



Country Strong

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 117 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th January 2011

Box Office USA: $20.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $20.2M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Screen Gems

Production compaines: Maguire Entertainment, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 22%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 101

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Shana Feste

Starring: as Kelly Canter, as Beau Williams, as James Canter, as Chiles Stanton

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.