A few days ago I had the opportunity to watch the latest film by Gwyneth Paltrow, "Country strong". This is the second film of the director and screenwriter, Shana Feste, who pleasantly surprised us with his debut, The greatest, a drama with a cast of exception, with Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan. With this movie Feste won a lot of followers (see the sequence of Sarandon´s awakening, amazing). With Country Strong, has established itself as a safe bet.
The impeccable Gwyneth Paltrow plays a famous and award-winning country singer, Kelly Canter, who crosses a low point in her personal and professional life. Accompanied by actor and singer Tim McGrow (who with his wife Faith Hill, both produced the film), the emerging Garret Hedlund (Tron Legacy) and Gossip Girl Leighton Meester. After a stint in a detoxification clinic, the singer begins a tour in which she tries to demonstrate that she is over all her personal problems and alcohol addiction.
Having a look in the cast, the staging and the soundtrack, performed by actors and full of themes for country lovers (and for anyone looking for an opportunity to discover the genre), we might think that this is a production of the many that Hollywood usually do every year, but after the first ten minutes, the viewer will notice that it is not just any movie.
This is not a studio script. Gwyneth Paltrow delights us with another magnificent performance. Furthermore we see Tim McGrow doing a perfect job as a singer and as an actor. also giving some responsibility to the two young promises that this film can make their cover letter in both the world of music as in the leading roles.
This is tear-jerker movie, which give us a different perspective to the ones seen lately. The director tries to introduce the characters from a different perspective, beyond the problems of alcohol. Something which Jeff Bridges couldn’t make in Crazy Heart. It might be because the script wasn’t solid enough. It could be due to both the script and direction being handled by the same person, Shana Feste, something very unusual in Hollywood apart from art films. All this makes the movie contain lots of personality, being clearly showed at the end of the movie. And this could be the reason why the film has not had the reception it deserved.
We can see a real evolution of the four characters, which end up being very different to how we met at the beginning of the movie. But the script and direction, coupled with the magnificent work of the actors make it easier to understand the role of each character. We would like to highlight scenes such as Kelly and Beu composing together in the clinic: the performance of Kelly singing “Coming home” or any Garrett Hedlund’s scene. And we should not miss when James invites Kelly to dance when she is singing to a child with leukemia. Everything is said with a gaze and a dance…
I would recommend to everyone who likes tear-jerker movies, with good script, good actors and soundtracks lovers.