Country Strong

Are you a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll?  The answer to that question may determine if you will see the new Gwyneth Paltrow movie, “Country Strong”, but it shouldn’t.

I’m pretty much all rock and roll and don’t care too much for country.  I was one of the few critics who was not blown away from the Coen Brother’s “True Grit”.  I was happy to see Jeff Bridges win the Oscar last year for his role in “Crazy Heart”, but I was hardly crazy about the movie.  The music and movies from that genre (Country/Western) has never appealed to me.  My mother tells me she was never a big fan either so maybe I inherited it from her.

I wasn’t looking forward to seeing this movie about a country singer, Kelly Canter (Paltrow) getting out of rehab for alcohol abuse, mostly at the urging of her husband (Tim McGraw) who wants to get her back on tour again.  One of her opening acts is Beau Hutton (Garrett Hedlund) who helped “take care” of her while she was in treatment.  Her other opening act is an up and coming country singer and former beauty queen, Chiles Stanton who deals with the occasional bout of stage fright.  Surprisingly the story turned out to be much more complex and I found myself won over by the movie and enjoyed it.

Seeing a washed up (insert a talent profession here) trying to make a comeback is not a fresh story.  It has been told before; the question is whether the movie’s director can successfully follow the formula for this type of movie or fail.  More times than not it is the latter, but writer and director Shana Feste does a good job in delivering a solid movie regardless if you are a fan of country related material or not.