2011 In Film: Number 2: Country Strong by Jamie

Spoilers ahead.

Generally speaking, country music isn’t my thing. Sure there are exceptions but as a whole, it’s not something I can really get into. Add on top of that the fact that, outside of Iron Man, I’m not a massive fan of Gwyneth Paltrow. So it’s fair to say that Country Strong, the film starring Gwyneth Paltrow as an alcoholic country singer, is the least aimed at me film that could have possibly been made. Still, I made a commitment to sit down and watch all 200 or so movies listed on Wikipedia’s list of films released in 2011 and so I sat down and watched it.

The main gist of the story is that Gwyneth Paltrow is Kelly Canter, a famous country singer who is in rehab after falling over drunk whilst five months pregnant on her last tour. Whilst in rehab she begins an affair with Beau Hutton (Garrett Hedlund), an aspiring singer/songwriter, but her husband/manager James (Tim McGraw) takes her out of rehab early in an effort to get her to tour again and rebuild her reputation. He also picks up Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester) to support her on the tour and, having seen them perform together, he decides to take Beau along as well, under the pretense that he’s also there to look after Kelly as her rehab sponsor.

So during the tour, Kelly gets drunk and either misses or fucks up the show. She also grows increasingly jealous of Chiles and increasingly resentful of Beau and James. Due to her constant inability to perform, it’s more and more up to Chiles and Beau to keep the tour going and so they find themselves becoming more and more famous and eventually they fall in love. Anyway, Kelly finally cleans herself up for the last big show and knocks it out of the park. Everyone is happy and things look like they’re gonna finally be OK. And then Kelly kills herself with an overdose. Beau moves on to California to work on a ranch and play his music for the love of music, man, and eventually Chiles joins him.

Christ, I know that there was more than that in the film and I literally watched it a little while ago but my mind is mostly drawing a blank. This film was so cliché, so by the numbers and so incredibly, incredibly boring. Even the big shock ending wasn’t a shock. Of course Kelly was gonna die. I’d be more shocked if she’d finally sorted herself out and did good.

Also the main point of this story seems to be that you can have fame or you can have love but you can’t have both. Really? Maybe if your husband is also your manager and so both your incomes rely on you but I’m fairly sure there are famous people who have managed to handle having both.

I suppose if I can say something good, it’s that everyone seems to be trying really hard and everyone’s singing there own songs and doing pretty well at it as far as my ear for country music goes but honestly, this film is just so… meh that I really can’t recommend it. Half a pint out of five. Laterz.

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