Movie Review - Country Strong (***)

Country Strong

I'm going to come right out and say that my review of this movie might be colored a bit by the fact that I saw this film after being stuck in the house for several days with a congested newborn.  I was so stir crazy I probably could've seen When In Rome only to find myself praising its Oscar-worthiness.  

So with that in mind (plus the fact that this is a January release and expectations for those movies are always diminished) I didn't think Country Strong was all that bad.  In fact, it was actually kind of good.
Gwyneth Paltrow plays a hard drinking country star who is known for having the best marriage in country music.  Her husband is played by Tim McGraw (who sings nary a note in this film) and the two of them are in the middle of a marital crossroads (who goes by the name of Beau and is played by Garrett Hedlund).
Sure, it's predictable, though not as predictable as you'd think.  The relationships in this movie are much more complicated than those presented in the recent complicated relationship movie, It's Complicated.  
And sure, this movie could've found itself right at home on Lifetime with the Jennifer Love Hewitt Golden Globe nominated film The Client List.  And sure, it's really not much more than a knock off of Crazy Heart for the commercial country music set.
But all that said, I kind of liked this movie.  I liked Gwyneth in it.  I liked Garrett Hedlund.  I liked Leighton Meester.  I enjoyed the music.  I did not like the lengthy close-up shot of Tim McGraw on a bench in an elementary school as he contemplated his relationship with his wife.  I did not like the stupid baby bird as human baby metaphor that was sprinkled throughout the film.  I did not like how perilously close Gwyneth's character came to flashing her audience during her big performance (Did the skirt on that dress really need to be so short?)
Could you do worse than Country Strong?  Definitely.  Could you do better?  Absolutely.  How's that for decisiveness? 

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