Rating: 3 of 5
One thing Country Strong has going for it is that it’s authentic. It has a rambling, low key sort of atmosphere that serves the story well.
It’s also well cast (I admit, Leighton Meester surprised me). Garrett Hedlund, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw are all good, as expected. They capture these broken and searching and beautiful characters who are so much like the music of the film.
And let’s be honest, the music is the heart of the film. Which, for some movies, is kind of a lazy sort of half storytelling. But in something like this, the music is supposed to be the thread that binds them all together and says what the characters can’t actually say and evokes in the audience the poignant emotions.
The only thing I think it suffers from is being the work of a first time director who isn’t quite complex enough. There are definitely some good moments, and Garrett Hedlund’s character is sort of the unexpected support for all the others. Most of it though, especially between Gwyneth and Tim, felt like a song written for a movie: what they give you is great, the last couple of lines or the chorus, but it’s lacking the depth and history of a whole song – something underneath and beyond the pieces the audience sees.
I liked the end, though.
I have the right to disappear.