Country Strong (2010)(DVD)
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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).
Marguerite, South Africa. 31 July 2014
The theme of music stars self-destructing as a result of drug or alcohol addiction, has probably been used once too often. What saves this film from ridicule is that this time the subject is a young, sexy female at the pinnacle of success, and not an aging male whose career is on the skids (as in CRAZY HEART and A STAR IS BORN). Gwyneth Paltrow, who must surely be one of the most under-rated actresses, gives a convincingly sympathetic portrayal of alcoholic country singer Kelly Canter. Country singer Tim McGraw plays Kelly's husband-manager James, who can't seem to make up his mind whether he wants Kelly as a wife or just a meal-ticket. Two more singers, Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester, bring their singing talents to the screen as up-and-coming supporting acts Beau Hutton and Chiles Stanton.
The music score is strong, but disappointingly fragmented. It is a failure of most modern musicals that the songs, which should be the focal points of the story, are usually truncated in favour of, or used as backgrounds to, the dialogue. Given that Hedlund's diction is poor and often inaudible, it would have been better if he had been allowed to sing his role instead of speaking it, and Paltrow's singing talents could have been better used to flesh out her character. I also feel that the original ending, as shown in the special features, would have made a more convincing ending to a film that warns that the pursuit of fame & fortune is not always worth the price one may have to pay for personal heppiness.
Region 2 - Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories.