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
I loved this movie. It wasn't what I expected at all, but I really enjoyed it and did tear up a couple of times. I have to say I am very surprised by the harsh reviews by critics and some of the users on here!
The movie is a bit too long at almost 2 hours. I think a couple of the acting scenes were repetitive, but I am glad they did not cut any of the music they had. There is a LOT of music but the actors all pull it off quite well, with some of the songs actually being recognizable as real country songs if you are familiar with the genre.
I must admit I am a huge country music fan and I like all country, not just the newer pop stuff. So take my review knowing that. However, I did take 3 people with me to the advance screening and 2 of them listen to NO country music. All 4 of us thought the movie was great. Three of us cried.
I think the previews are marketing the movie all wrong. It looks like it will be an uplifting film that shows us the bad stuff in the beginning, then maybe a bump or two, then everybody winds up happy and "Country Strong." This is not the case at all.
It is a sad look at addiction but I think more realistic than someone coming out of rehab and everything being sunshine and lollipops. The characters are all flawed, with perhaps Beau being the only one who comes out in a mostly positive light, but even he has his issues and is far from perfect.
It also looks like Gwyneth is the only lead in the previews, but all 4 major characters have quite a large amount of time on screen and I think Beau has the same (or maybe even more) screen time as Gwyneth. I had never heard of this actor (had no clue he has the lead in TRON) and I came home to look him up immediately because I thought surely he was a real up and coming country singer.
Gwyneth's voice is really good, and if Garrett or Leighton ever made a country album, I would buy it. Tim doesn't sing in the movie but has a song on the soundtrack, but that was the way he wanted it and I respect him for that. This was the first movie of Tim's where I did forget at least a couple of times that I was looking at "THE" Tim McGraw. He was fine in Blindside, but it was a small role.
If you have a passionate hatred for country, I do not think you will enjoy the movie because there is a lot of singing in it. However, you do not need to love country as I do to enjoy it. If you can so much as tolerate it or accept the singers as being talented, I think you'll be fine.
I plan to buy the soundtrack, but wish it had more from Garrett and Leighton because they each sang a lot more than 1 song in the movie!
39 of 54 people found this review helpful.
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