By Anthony Solorzano II
This week’s newest melodrama “Country Strong,” directed by Shane
Faste and starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw and Garrett Hedlund,
follows the career of country music superstar Kelley Canter.
The film starts with Canter, played by Paltrow, being released
from rehab after an incident that occurred in a concert in Dallas,
Texas a year before. It continues to tell the story of her attempt
at rebounding her career.
In the film, we see Canter’s struggle with the media; with her
husband and manager James Canter (McGraw); her young competition
played by Leighton Meester; and her continuous problem with alcohol
Paltrow gives a strong performance playing a troubled country
The complexity of Paltrow’s character is revealed during a scene
in which Canter is preparing for a show.
She is reminded of the events that took place a year before that
triggered her alcoholism. Her emotions demonstrate the preparation
Paltrow put into the role.
One outstanding aspect of Paltrow’s performance is her voice. In
her last big concert scene, she opens it by singing the titular
song “Country Strong,” showing that aside from acting, she can also
While Paltrow does a magnificent job singing, her presence on
stage is awkward.
She moves around the stage playing a guitar but does not know
what to do when the music stops.
McGraw, on the other hand, gives a well-rounded performance
playing Paltrow’s demanding manager and husband James.
McGraw is known mainly as a country singer, but recently he has
made appearances on-screen with stars like Sandra Bullock.
McGraw is one of the few singers turned actors who is worth
paying attention to.
In one scene, James attempts to comfort a drunk Canter before
Due to the emotions and characteristics McGraw gives the
character, you learn to appreciate his acting as much as you
respect his singing
For those who don’t follow the country scene and think this
movie is not for them, keep in mind that the movie is not about
country music but about the problems that come with fame and
One thing that Faste does well is differentiating the careers of
up-and-coming singers to the career of a veteran singer.
Usually, after the awards season starts and the new year begins,
theatres tend to be full of mindless action and cliche horror
“Country Strong” is neither of the two and is worth watching for
the performances and the music.
Courtesy of Sony Pictures
Strong’ hits all the right notes
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