I did not have high hopes for Country Strong.
I mean, how many people really thought that Gwyneth Paltrow with her patrician looks and Shakespeare in Love history could pull off being a country music star struggling with alcoholism?
And could the chick really sing country music? Or even sing?
Would my boyfriend (lover of classic rock who views pop music and country especially with disdain) get so annoyed with the music that resent me for choosing a movie only to sit through countless songs about tractors and achy-breaky hearts?
Lucky for me, Gwyneth can sing and thanks to a surprisingly compelling plot, I stayed on my boyfriend’s good side.
For those unfamiliar with the premise, Country Strong is about a country music star Kelly Cantor making her comeback after being in rehab to deal with her alcoholism. She struggles with her very public troubled past, facing her demons, and crumbling marriage all while on her comeback tour. On top of all this, the up-and-coming Chiles Stanton (played by Leighton Meester), her opening act, threatens to steal her songs, her boyfriend, and her husband.
The film chronicles the helplessness and chaos that often plagues those who suffer from mental illness and the challenges of leaving a controlled rehabilitation setting and reentering the very world with its vices and problems that originally contributed to their struggles. Although my boyfriend claims he saw the ending coming, I was shocked.
I can’t remember the last time I sobbed so hard in a theater.
But of course, after the credits began to roll, I turned my tear-stained face to my boyfriend who had taken me into his arms and managed to choke out between sobs, “I NEED to buy the soundtrack!!”