In the movie Country Strong, every character, with the exception of Tim McGraw, is not exactly known for their abilities to sing. I personally love country music so I was assuming this movie was going to ruin that for me. However, I was pleasantly surprised on not only how well the story was told but also on how well the songs were sung. I decided I would give a grade to each of the actors that put their credentials to the test and stepped up to the mic and an honest review from a country music fan.
Gwyneth Paltrow as Kelly Canter – B
Taking on the main role as the recently released from rehab country singer Kelly Canter, Gwyneth Paltrow does what she can to bring a southern twang to her voice and does a pretty good job of doing it. We never actually hear her sing until one of the last scenes in the movie where she plays a big concert in Dallas, Texas, the place where her character failed to perform a year ago. The way she sings the songs is honest and these could be her actual tracks if she wanted them to. She didn’t try too hard to pretend like she was country. In the concert, she finishes the concert with the song Coming Home; she came across as someone who has been in the industry for a long time and an artist that learned from her mistakes. The only problem that I had about her was the song Shake That Thing; she went from a Miranda Lambert honest kind of singer to a wannabe Gretchen Wilson. Overall, I would give her a B.
Garrett Hedlund as Beau Hutton- A
I was surprised to see the actor from Tron: Legacy come out in a country film, especially weeks after Tron was released. He was actually the surprise of the whole film. He was the old kind of country singer like the George Strait singer. He doesn’t care whom he is playing for as long as he is playing his music. It shows in his music playing some bar pleasing honky tonk country as well as some slow country songs. If he wanted to, he could seriously release an album. He really did remind me of what country used to be and the country I grew up on. He didn’t want do any of that country pop that is hitting the airwaves now a days. He is definitely worthy of an A.
Leighton Meester as Chiles Stanton- A-
The reason I give Leighton Meester such a high grade is because of the way her character develops not only as a person but also as an artist. She starts off as explaining how she loves beauty pageants. She also starts off with the song Summer Girl. This is a song that you would hear from Taylor Swift. It is verging more on the pop genre than in the countryside of things. She then meets the character Beau and he shows her that she is better than country/pop when they duet the song Give In To Me. Leighton Meester has come out with a few songs that don’t sound really promising but she could definitely do country. It just seems to fit her voice.
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