A group of 12 teenagers from various backgrounds enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York to make it as ballet dancers and each one deals with the problems and stress of training and getting ahead in the world of dance.
A drama centered on a rising country-music songwriter (Hedlund) who sparks with a fallen star (Paltrow). Together, they mount his ascent and her comeback, which leads to romantic complications involving her husband/manager (McGraw) and a beauty queen-turned-singer (Meester). Written by
Tim McGraw, a highly successful country musician, does not sing or perform in the film. The rest of the main cast are the opposite. See more »
When reading her flash cards in the van, Chiles (Leighton Meester) claims that General MacArthur returned to the Philippines in 1946. World War II was well over by then. He actually returned in 1944 after the battle of Leyte. He then uttered the famous words "I have returned". See more »
Country Strong: Is this movie country music fans have been waiting for?
"Country Strong", a surprisingly good film (even if you live in
California and don't happen to like country music). Starring Gwyneth
Paltrow (Iron Man), Tim McGraw (The Blind Side), Garrett Hedlund (TRON:
Legacy) and Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), "Country Strong" succeeds
in doing exactly what it sets out to do; that is make a dramatic film
about country music that is also entertaining. I know a lot of critics
will not agree with me, but in the midst of the awards season this is
the one film, not nominated for a big time award, that is worth
spending your money on.
Side Note: Oh, and if you're only reading this review to find out if
Gwyneth Paltrow can sing, the answer is yes she can. But if you had
seen "Duets", then you already knew that she could.
Synopsis: A story that follows fallen country music superstar Kelly
Canter (Paltrow) as she is released from rehab and attempts a comeback
concert. There is also another, and all around better, storyline that
follows the rise of two up and coming country music artists Beau Hutton
and Chiles Stanton (Hedlund and Meester), as they try to find out what
path to take through the harsh and unforgiving world of the country
Yes, "Country Strong" may seem a bit to predictable for some and yes,
it does lag a bit in the middle of the film (mostly pertaining to
Paltrow's scenes), but it does redeem itself with a vengeance in the
final 30 minutes of the film. The storyline is really well thought out,
the character development here is potent and the acting (including the
singing), for the most part, is excellent.
Unequivocally the one actor to take note of in this film is Hedlund,
who steals the show with his performance of a country boy/country music
purist. His chemistry on screen with just about everyone including the
microphone is so authentic, that whenever he is on-screen he literally
makes the movie better. Any and all issues I have with this film
surprisingly fall directly on the performance of Paltrow. She plays an
aging alcoholic Country superstar with as much heart as she can muster,
but overall she is sadly uninteresting to watch for most of the film.
Final Thought: "Country Strong" is currently getting raked through the
mud by critics for its simplistic storyline, but let me tell you this:
anyone (and I mean anyone) who is a fan of Country music will
undoubtedly love this film. And even if the Country twang is not your
bang, this is a strong enough drama to keep you in your seat. This is
no "Crazy Heart" (so no nominations to be found here), but "Country
Strong" is still entertaining enough for me to strongly recommend.
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