Country Strong by Charleen

Do you love country music?  Then this is one not to be missed!  And even if you don’t but enjoy a good romance with good music to boot, then grab this movie!

The story is based on a ficticious country singer super star, Kelly Canter, beautifully portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow.  Her manager husband, James, played by Tim McGraw, sticks by her through thick and thin, faithfully by her side during her rise to fame and her fall from stardom.   

It is while in rehab that Ms Canter meets the bright eyed, wide smile of Beau (Garett Hedlund) who is also a musician doing gigs in pubs in Nashville.  It is evident early on in the story that these two share more together than the love of country music.

We are introduced to the beauty pageant-turned-country singer Chiles (Leighton Meester) while she auditions as the opening act for Ms Canter.  After severe stage fright, it is Beau who comes to her rescue as we watch them perform a duet, “Friends in Low Places”.

These four characters are brought together as Beau and Chiles become Ms Canter’s opening act and join her on tour.

True romance is seen when Beau and Chiles become romantically involved.

All four characters are likeable in their own right.  Paltrow embraces her character as the disturbed country singer and makes it believable.  She does all her own singing, enjoyable numbers such as ‘Country Strong’ and ‘Going Home’.  I marvelled at Meester’s singing ability and you will too as she hooks up with Hedlund to sing the poignant, “Give in to Me”.  The most captivating performance though is that of Hedlund who owned his character as up-and-coming-country-singer, Beau.  He says that love and fame can’t live in the same place and the simplicity of his character is very endearing.  He is also exceptionally musically talented with his guitar and singing skills.  Surprisingly, Tim McGraw, real life country singer, is the only person who doesn’t sing in this movie.  

Country music has a voice – when it’s sad, it says it’s sad and when it’s happy, it says so.  Similarly, this movie is like country music.  It has moments of happiness and moments of sheer sadness.  “When you see me getting smaller, I’m leaving, don’t be grieving, I have a right to disappear…”  Have tissues handy!

I loved everything about this movie.  See it and you will concur!

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