Just strong enough

You know, for some reason Country Strong has grown on me since I saw it a week ago. The appeal for me to see it was Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance and her own singing as country star Kelly Canter. Paltrow’s performance met my expectations and I was surprised by where the writer and director took her character, but didn’t always enjoy that aspect of the plot. The director pushed Canter’s hot mess situation a little too far in some scenes. I was also surprised that Country Strong is much more of a drama than a feel-good feature. The previews for this film are a little deceiving. Some of the previews I saw on TV seemed to focus more on the younger country stars in the film, played by Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester — maybe to draw in a younger audience. They are a big part of the film, but that’s not to take away from Paltrow’s performance, or the plight of her character. 
Tim McGraw plays Paltrow’s husband James in the movie and while I didn’t think so for The Blind Side, he shines in this one.
McGraw is a musician and married to Faith Hill in real life, but he definitely went beyond just acting like himself for two hours on screen.

The main downfall in Country Strong is the music. The mainstream pop-country style wasn’t enough to set the music at a level as strong as the acting. Paltrow’s got the voice for it, why didn’t they try to go to the level of Crazy Heart?
Crazy Heart is a much better movie, having the similar premise of a washed up country music star, but there is a niche for both in film audiences. Go out with the girls to see Country Strong, enjoy the eye candy of Garrett Hedlund (though I kept mistaking him for Ryan Gosling) and enjoy the acting props from the cast. Then, see Crazy Heart too.

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