Country soap opera

Country Strong Screen Gems Rating: PG 111 minutes

Since we’re still waiting for The King’s Speech, Black Swan and Barney’s Version to arrive in Red Deer, this reviewer had to go see a country music film.

Country Strong is an old-fashioned melodramatic story about a country singer trying to make a comeback.

Now Gwyneth Paltrow is a fine actress and sings well too, but she just isn’t believable as a popular country singer.

As the movie starts she’s getting out of rehab. Seems at her last concert in Dallas she fell off the stage and lost the baby she was carrying; she was drunk at the time.

Tim McGraw, a real country singer, plays Paltrow’s manager/husband but doesn’t sing a note till the credits. He gets her out of rehab too soon, despite the protests of an aide at the clinic, played by Garrett Hedlund.

But Hedlund is a country singer too and always wows the crowd when he’s on stage and soon he’s touring with Paltrow. And it turns out he’s sleeping with her too, and it’s not long before he’s also getting it on with Leighton Meester, a beauty queen who wants to be a country singer, who also joins the tour.

The country music isn’t bad, but Paltrow’s character is always having meltdowns on stage and can’t stay away from the pills and booze until her grand finale, where she sings parts of songs. Hedlund, who’s a very good performer, is the real star of this country soap opera.

Rating: three deer out of five

Next Week on Video

The Switch is an okay romantic comedy with Justin Bateman unknowingly fathering Jennifer Aniston’s child.

Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.