January 10, 2011
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It seems like Hollywood is gonna release a movie about country music every year now. About a year ago was Crazy Heart, and a few years before that was Walk the Line. But where these films became Oscar darlings, Country Strong was released in January, the studios’ dumping grounds for films of little faith. Just by that measure, we know that it wasn’t give too much attention, and unfortunately, it shows.
Gwyneth Paltrow stars as Kelly Canter, a country superstar taken prematurely from rehab and out on tour. With her manager/husband calling the shots, she never really gets a chance to breathe. She finds solace and friendship in Beau, an aspiring singer who works at her rehab clinic. When she sets out on tour again, she brings him along. And so begins Kelly’s comeback tour.
The elements are in place for a fun film, but the script is DOA. The film plays directly to its audience, with each and every cliché happening on schedule. There are no surprises, the plot plays out like a made for tv movie. The strength of the film is the music. Though it isn’t as profound or as other recent movie soundtracks, a few songs linger with you afterward. Those are the ones when the actors not only sing their own parts, but put emotion into every word until it does infinitely better than the movie does. Only for those who really want to see it. 1.5 out of 5 stars