I like country music. The reasons for this are (1) I do not have a sophisticated musical ear, and (2) the songs tell little stories. So I was very disappointed in Gwyneth Paltrow's new movie, COUNTRY STRONG. I have no idea whether or not Paltrow sang well (she sounded fine to me, which means nothing), and Tim McGraw never sings at all, but the main problem is that the story sucks.
Nothing adds up. It's unclear why Paltrow's character, country superstar Kelly Canter, is having mental difficulties. She's an alcoholic, but unlike last year's CRAZY HEART, this is not a convincing movie about alcoholism. She is supposed to be mentally unstable, but unlike BLACK SWAN, we never get into her delusions or know why she is having them or what they are. The characters form alliances, turn away from each other, punch each other, turn to each other for help, all without discernible reasons other than the need for a dramatic scene. For most of the movie, it's not even clear who is or is not sleeping with whom.
Worst of all, though, is the movie's message, which the characters repeat solemnly to each other and which the ending bears out: "You can't have both fame and love." Why not? Not even the movie shows why, let alone real life. But when the only answer to being famous [SPOILER ALERT!] is to kill yourself, it's less a sign of profound depth than of film makers desperate for an ending.
Not recommended -- although I did enjoy the music.