Country Strong

The first drama movie to be seen in 2011 is “Country Strong”. Its director, Shana Feste, stated in interview that the drama’s protagonist, country singer lady, was inspired by pop celebrity singer and actress Britney Spears. It was released internationally on 1/07/2011 and by the time of the second weekend in theaters, its gross is now as high as $13,401,000 (having the budget of around $15 million).

The main character of the picture, fictional contemporary star of country music named Kelly Canter, is portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s worth mentioning that it is the first Gwyneth’s role of singer, and yet she performed outstandingly and true-to-life.  The story grips us from the very beginning, when we get to see Kelly long after her prime. As she chats up with Beau, a good-looking rising songwriter/vocalist (played by Garrett Hedlund), her husband/manager James comes up to drag Kelly away. Actually, both her husband and Kelly try to get back to life after a dramatic event year ago.

What happened a year ago, when Kelly was pregnant, is a real catastrophe. While being drunk and performing on stage, Kelly Canter loses balance and falls down, unfortunately getting severe traumas, which wasted the child she had been carrying. The couple barely manages to carry on, and now James insists on a 3-city tour. But soul’s wound is still there, and when Kelly attempts to go on stage this time, she refuses to perform and falls apart. Is there anything that can help to “defeat the demons” inside her? Come and see.

The picture has plenty adultery and drinking scenes, heart-on-the sleeve scenes and other country music backstage scenery. But the picture’s true winning side lies in its characters, who ring true regardless of situations they’re in. Feste (the director) understands her storylines whole, and she possesses an unconventional knack for discovering her approach to a scene and pinpointing its emotional verity, often to an unmatched extent: Kelly and Beau’s first appearance on set – during it they bouncily create a song in the course of an unrehearsed session – visualizes how the underlying empathy between 2 performers can convert a scripted occurrence into one of inordinate tenderness and confidential intimacy.

Each displayed relationship in “Country Strong” makes for the film’s tense vigor: James and Kelly’s honest attempts to recuperate their marriage bounded by professional responsibilities; James and Beau’s restless opposition; Kelly’s cold attitude to Chiles (another country singer who joined the tour), who nevertheless admires Kelly; finally Chiles and Beau’s completely opposite responses to their enticing first run-ins with fame.

What’s also a “plus” for the picture is that Kelly’s struggle against alcohol is counterbalanced by other storylines and character destinies, helping the story to be somewhat greater than a forthright chronicle of addiction and salvage. Kelly’s vulnerable condition is accurately rendered by Paltrow’s regular fragility, and the actress performs at her maximum in those courageous, transitory instants when Kelly unbelievably gradually regains her strength, which she thought was lost forever.

An immersive and emotion-rich drama, which is “Country Song”, will surely grab your senses. And it definitely provides plenty of food for thought.

Country Strong trailer

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