Country Strong

19 01 2011


Over the weekend I finally made it to the theaters to see Country Strong.  Being a huge fan of Gwyneth Paltrow and country music I knew that I had to see this movie.  I didn’t read the reviews until after the movie and truthfully, I am so happy that I waited.  (SPOILER ALERT – Do not read any further unless you want to read about the end of the movie). 

Local papers in my town didn’t seem to care much for this movie and the reviewer claimed to be bored throughout the film.  Well, call me old fashioned, but last I checked 3D space ships and animals singing isn’t very realistic, nor relatable.  However, in Country Strong, while you might not be able to draw parallels between your life and those of the characters you will be able to identify with the sentiments of love, hurt, and loss. 

Kelly Cantor (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a larger than life country music star struck down by her own addictions.   Kelly is a constant rollercoaster of emotions, strong one moment and completely fragile the next.  She pretends to be a powerhouse of strength with her husband, James (Tim McGraw), and the audience comes to understand that their love is in the past and based on what was, instead of what is currently.  The whole film is a sad battle between their hearts, addictions (James is addicted to show business and the way he remembers his wife), and you are left wondering up until the last minute of the film, and ultimately Kelly’s death, if any fame is worth the hurt.   

When Kelly cannot be strong, she relied on her new found friend, Beau Hutton (Garrett Hedlund) and it is with him she is able to share her weaknesses and find rest in sharing them.  She is able to forget who she once was, and Beau loves her for that reason.  Beau, the young, restless rebel is jaded but not completely heartless, and we see that when he comes to the rescue of Kelly and Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester) often.   Despite the differences between the love of James and Beau for Kelly we see that they are both important and neither can be discounted or discarded. 

Of course, there are other love triangles taking place between Beau and Chiles (trailer trash beauty queen turned singer), potentially James and Chiles, Kelly and others, all while on tour with Kelly.  The little subplots do not overshadow the main struggle between Kelly and her addictions, which includes the men in her life, and as it turns out, she is not country strong.  Her “last words” of the movie, “love and fame can’t live in the same place, choose Love,” while beautiful were written to Beau and left me sad for her husband James. He was left to live with and carry the guilt of their lives and for him there were no second chances.  Luckily, for Beau and Chiles, youth was on their side and chances many. 

The music was definitely the star of this show and tomorrow, I will share a few of my favorites from the soundtrack.

Did you see the movie, what are your thoughts?




One response

9 02 2011
Dickens in the Deep South « Sweet Iced Tea

[…] antique copy of the classic story, and gave it along with a copy of the the 1998 film, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, on […]

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