Since hearing her songs in the 90s Cruisin (duet with Huey Lewis) and Just My Imagination (duet with Babyface), evidently Gwyneth Paltrow has voice for singing. In fact, it’s considered late for her to have Country Strong. Anyway, Kelly Canter is very fit to her and she embodies her effectively.
If you are into music most especially in country genre you'll love the movie. The actors have great voice (whether or not they're singing their pieces). I commend the three singers in the story Paltrow, Garrett Hedlund, and Leighton Meester. You can distinguish their unique images and styles. Meester’s Chiles Stanton is really for pop country, Paltrow’s Kelly is country ballad superstar/diva, and Hedlund is the heartthrob hardcore country singer.
I watched Troy (starring Brad Pitt, Eric Bana & Orland Bloom) before but I didn't notice Hedlund there. Apart from that he takes major role, he's handsome and macho in this film. Meester on the other hand is charming and pretty. Although, in the first few sequence you will not like her character Chiles because she's ambitious and looks brainless.
Sorry but I don't know Tim McGraw prior to this film. But it's interesting to learn that he's the real singer among the major cast. You'll love and hate him for being the husband and manager of Kelly. In some point, this trait is confusing too. You don't know what James’ aims for his wife. Does he really care about Kelly's health? Is he still loves her? But based in his dialogues he does so I like him. Anyway, though McGraw looks old he has appeal.
The screenplay is well written and even the direction. There's balance among the four major characters and even if there are no flashbacks, you’ll know them well. They are satisfactory established through dialogues and their actions. I like the way the writer compressed sequences to exude the plot and subplots and prolong significant scenes for you to appreciate the endearing moments of each character.
However, I think the way the director -writer Shane Feste presented the movie is not appealing for everyone particularly those who are not into musical movie and country or acoustic music. And it takes time for me to appreciate the chemistry between Hedlund and Meester because of their physical features, he looks uncle of her.
Kelly is like Stacee Jaxx played by Tom Cruise in Rock of Ages, they are fallen stars not because their time is up, but because of their attitude problem. Kelly is fragile and loses her passion as her husband notice.
If I’m correct she started to become alcoholic when she had miscarriage while performing and it was discovered that her blood had alcohol content. I guess being in the scrutiny of the public also add to her guilt. And because of her emotional dilemma other thing she had is not important anymore. Unfortunately, her career is the only thing she has apart from the care of his manager husband.
It’s tough indeed- if only all the people can understand what you’re going through. But of course you can’t please everyone nor can you push them to accept your mistake.
If you have someone like Kelly in your life extend your patience and show your love to him/her. You don’t need to tolerate her but you need to provide the best help that you can think of. Alcoholism is an illness that will always lure her and the worst scenario of course is to die because of it.
If you are like Kelly who’s in agony, don’t resort to alcohol. It can make you numb from pain for hour(s) and probably drives you to euphoria. But still the problem is there and you make it worse than you can ever imagine. Instead, remember your blessings and count them. Feel the presence of your love ones. Think of your future- you can have your dreams once you are able to pass your test today. And don’t forget there’s hope which you can take if you’re still alive and kicking. Don’t lose your faith in yourself and faith in God, it can make you super stronger.