- 1 hr 57 min
Country Strong is a movie that embodies the spirit, the heart, and the passion of country music as it tells a story of triumphant and tragedy. It combines a great story and a well-crafted musical score and is carried out by a talented and authentic cast. The story revolves around Kelly Canter, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, an aging country music star who has leaves rehab and is ready to announce her health and re-assert herself as a star by going out on tour. While in rehab she meets and develops a strong connection to a young male singer played by Garrett Hedlund, who she chooses to bring on tour with her. The chemistry between Paltrow and Hedlund is genuine and the relationship continues to develop on the tour. However, Canter's husband and manager, played by real life country music star Tim McGraw, is also on tour. Naturally, a love triangle situation quickly develops and creates plenty of awkwardness and instability on the tour, which is only increased by Canter's erratic behavior and continued struggles with alcohol, even outside of rehab. Paltrow plays the lead role with incredible conviction and believability, as her character spirals out of control and continues to fall down every time she or someone else picks her up. Also on the tour is a young up and coming country singer named Chiles Stanton, played by Leighton Meester. Stanton is a lifelong fan of Canter and has deep admiration for her career, as she follows her along as the tour's opening act. As the story unfolds Canter develops jealousy towards Stanton, because of her young and because fans are increasingly accepting of her as the tour rolls on. It also doesn't help that Stanton and Hedlund's character, Beau Hutton, are growing close together, working together, and developing a strong bond. Meester does a fine job of playing the role of a sweet and innocent young woman just trying to make her dreams come true. It's a challenging role since in many ways she an antagonist of the protagonist, but from the point of view of the audience she is simply a second protagonist. Country Strong appeals to both lovers of country music and those that enjoy good dramas that don't always end perfectly happy. In the end, the movie is about doing whatever it takes to make your dream happen and struggling to keep your dreams alive. Ultimately, it's a cross generational story of two great country musicians.