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23

January 2011

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Movie Review: Country Strong

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I delayed seeing this film, because the trailer made it look cheesy and ridiculous. On a whim I watched it, and it was shockingly good. The film follows the career of Kelly Canter, a country music superstar, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s been to rehab multiple times, and her husband, James Canter (Tim McGraw), takes her out of rehab early so she can continue her tour. Garrett Hedlund plays her “sponsor,” and he objects to Canter’s early release, partly because she isn’t ready and partly because they’ve been carrying on an affair in rehab, and he doesn’t want her to leave. Canter wants him close, so she tells her husband she wants him as her opening act on tour. Her husband complies, but only if he shares the stage with Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester), a very pretty and talented aspiring country music star. Though I was impressed with all the actors in the film, I was particularly impressed with Tim McGraw, who I couldn’t decide whether to love or hate throughout the entire film. It’s clear much he loves his wife, despite the way he mistreats her.  It’s also clear how much Beau loves his wife, so it’s impossible to predict the end result.  Until the last twenty minutes, I had no idea who the characters would end up with.  It’s the least predictable romantic movie I’ve ever seen.