Country Not-So-Strong

01.08.2011

I was genuinely excited to see “Country Strong” today. I mean, it’s got a killer cast—Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Leighton Meester—and the trailers made it look really moving and great. Although I’m not huge on country music, I decided to give it a shot just to see. And I believe I gave it the best shot I could.

Unfortunately, it wasnÂ’t exactly what I was hoping for. While the other male lead (Garrett Hedlund) happened to be extremely talented and quite nice to look at, even he couldnÂ’t save the storyline. In theory, itÂ’s solid. Country superstar (Paltrow) hits rock bottom and tries to make a comeback, all while trying to save her strained marriage (to Tim McGrawÂ’s characterÂ…IÂ’d fight for that man tooÂ…) and avoid being replaced by a younger rising star (Meester). However, in practice, I thought the film fell short of its potential. For me, the plot felt disconnected, like there were a lot of loose ends that were never tied to anything. I donÂ’t want to give anything away in case some of you want to experience it for yourself, but I will say that some of it just didnÂ’t make sense to me. Especially the relationships between the characters. I felt a little confused about how everyone felt about each other, but maybe that was an artistic point. And maybe it wasnÂ’t. Who knows?

The best part, surprisingly, was the soundtrack. IÂ’m just starting to experiment with country music, so I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. This could also have come from the fact that I was actively listening to the music and trying to connect it to the story (courtesy of my Music in Film class from last semester. Thanks, Dr. Dorf!)

Anyway, I usually disagree with the critics when it comes to films, but IÂ’d have to agree with them this time. The cast and the music were great, but the film itself just didnÂ’t do it for me. ItÂ’s okay, Tim, IÂ’m still a fan!