Thursday, October 11, 2012

Country Strong (2011)

Kelly Canter (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a popular country singer, who’s trying to make a comeback. She’s a recovering alcoholic, but she wants to relive the glory days, and reclaim her spot as the hottest attraction in country music. But a series of setbacks and relationship problems threaten Kelly’s path back to the top.

I’ve never understood Gwyneth Paltrow’s success over the years. She’s been around for a while, and Paltrow has won an Oscar for her performance in Shakespeare In Love. Paltrow was pretty solid in this film, but I didn’t see anything great from her performance. Paltrow usually receives her fair share of roles every year, but to me, she’s always been a mediocre actress, who can POSSIBLY pull out a very solid performance every now and then.

As you can clearly see, I’m not a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow‘s career, but I will give her the credit she deserves for her performance in this film. Paltrow did deliver a very believable performance here, and I did want to feel for the Kelly Canter character. She was a broken woman, but you could also see a person, who struggled to find real happiness. Paltrow’s performance helped take this character to the next level, because she was very convincing here.

Paltrow proved to be a nice choice for the leading lady in this film, and the acting from the rest of the cast was pretty solid, but the acting is one the few highlights in this film, unfortunately. The story for Country Strong isn’t anything mind blowing or spectacular. It’s simple enough, but still, the story could’ve worked. This film features characters, who you can actually care about, and the entire cast really gives a nice collective effort here, because the acting is enjoyable, but the shitty screenplay for Country Strong really drags this film down. Usually, I don’t have a problem with predictably. It’s a common trait in Hollywood, and to tell you the truth, I usually expect it now a days. But if you’re going to go down the route of a predictable and formulaic screenplay, please provide an enjoyable ride to the end. Give the audience something entertaining, and keep them hooked into the story. At times, I wanted to fall asleep on Country Strong. The story was so dull and predictable, and I could see everything coming from a mile away…….

I ALWAYS knew Paltrow’s character would suffer a tragic end here. “She’s probably going to commit suicide at some point.” These were my thoughts early on, and I wasn’t halfway through the film yet! And sure enough, this happened at the very end. After a concert performance, Paltrow’s character pops one too many pills, and she’s found dead in the backstage area. Beau (Garrett Hedlund) cries hysterically, as he holds Kelly’s dead body in his arms, and her overbearing manager/husband, James (Tim McGraw) looks on in shock. Yeah, I’m sorry, but I shouldn’t be able to predict a suicide so early in the film. I KNEW something like this would happen, and the painful predictably is a real problem for this one.
**End spoilers**

I wanted to like Country Strong, and this film did have its moments, but the good acting wasn’t enough. The cast couldn’t save this one, and it really is a shame, because Country Strong did have some potential. Also, I’ve never been a fan of country, and I hardly know anything about this style of music, but I did enjoy the singing scenes here. They were soothing, and most of the musical performances are very enjoyable. Still, Country Strong is a pretty bad film. This one slowly goes through motions, and you can see everything coming, if you just pay close attention.

Final Rating: 3/10

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