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
Garrett Hedlund auditioned at a karaoke bar in Koreantown singing a Pearl Jam song. According to director Shana Feste, "It really wasn't the best showcase ever of his voice, but Garrett went to school for us. Literally, he took four months off and started learning how to play the guitar, took voice lessons, went to Nashville early, started working with Nathan Chapman, a record producer in Nashville who produces Miranda Lambert. I mean, he became a country singer." See more »
A billboard referencing Nashville exit 209A is very prominent in the background and they show the Nashville skyline while supposedly in Dallas. They also had real Nashville TV station logos on their microphones. See more »
Great Film, Great Performances - Surprised at the low IMDb Rating?
Since I'm fond of good country music I thought I'd give this a try, despite not being very keen on Gwyneth Paltrow. However, in this movie she gives a storming performance as a famous country singer, gradually falling apart with depression and alcohol - and she has a great voice! Yes that really is Gwyneth singing in the film.
The good news doesn't end there because the supporting cast are just as good, Garret Hedlund and Leighton Meester were fantastic and so good as country singers that I immediately looked for their albums, but apart from the Country Strong Soundtrack, there aren't any! These are just great actors with great voices. Add in a strong performance from Tim McGraw (Oh why cant you just love your woman? - that's all she needs!!).
With fine, layered performances from all and a storming soundtrack, this is definitely unmissable for any country music lover. I'm still humming the tunes days later.
By the way, be careful if buying the soundtrack album. There are two! The first has other artists covering many of the film's songs and though it's a good album, isn't strictly from the soundtrack in every case. The second album, with the same name, seems to have original performances from the film, but was out of stock and I have it on back order. I think this is the more popular one.
Anyway, if, like me, you don't watch films that score less than about 6 on IMDb, make this one an exception. You wont regret it!
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