I just want to put this one out there, I am a country music fan. That being said, that is the only reason I went to see Country Strong over the weekend. I watched the trailer and thought that it looked kind of blah. In the trailer the storyline looked to be all over the place also. I saw that the movie wasn’t getting very good reviews, so I didn’t really expect much going into it. I’m glad I went in with that mindset. Had I not gone in with that mindset I have no idea what I would have done during this movie.
Country Strong follows an immensely popular country star named Kelly Canter, who is played by Gwyneth Paltrow. Kelly was arrested for drunken disorderly conduct and sentenced to rehab. While she is in rehab she meets Beau Hutton who is played by Garret Hedlund. Hutton is one of those types of country singers who is completely content with just going down to the bar on karaoke night and singing. When Kelly Canter gets out of rehab early her husband/manager James Canter wants to get her back on the road touring as soon as possible, even though she is still a mess. Kelly wants Beau to open for her while they are on the road touring, however James decided on the young and upcoming drama queen, Chiles Stanton. Eventually you follow all of them throughout the journey of Kelly’s comeback tour which is beset by a lot of conflicts.
I found more things wrong with Country Strong than I found right with it. When it comes to the acting in this movie I wasn’t very impressed. Between Paltrow, Hedlund, Tim Mcgraw who played James, and Leighton Meester who played Chiles, I felt like the acting was forced. Nothing really seemed to flow with it. The only part of the movie that seems “right” was a particular scene with Meester and Hedlund singing with each other. Other than that, I found it pretty boring all around. On the other hand there is country music. That is the only thing that I really liked about Country Strong. The fact that most of the music was written to be original for this is excellent. I’m always up for an original soundtrack.
The storyline in Country Strong is all over the place. You follow Kelly through her comeback tour, however it seems like she disappears as a character for half of the movie. She is a strong character in the beginning, then it starts to focus on Beau and Chiles. It focuses on their relationship and how it grows, despite their differences as people and musicians. When the end of the movie is kind of in sight, it is then that Kelly starts coming back into view as a character. Not only does the character strength seem to be shaky, but the script is very predictable. You can see what is going to happen quite a few scenes beforehand.
Honestly, I would not suggest seeing this in the theaters at all. I’ll probably end up renting it once when it comes out on Blu-ray just to see if I like it better the second time around. However, I highly doubt that I’ll like it more the second time around.
Country Strong – 7/10