The Reel Review


An excellent soundtrack is the breakout star of this this much-better-than-critics-would-have-you-believe story of heartbreak, addiction, and redemption, that stars Gwyneth Paltrow as an emotionally troubled, country music superstar – a recovering alcoholic attempting to make a comeback, after a disastrous, very public meltdown.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Country Strong

While Patrow does a fine job as the emotionally unstable superstar, it is newcomer Garrett Hedlund who shines as the aspiring singer/songwriter who tries to save her from her psychological demons, with a supporting cast that includes an also-solid Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) as the rising young protegé that Canter’s husband/manager (Tim McGraw) is grooming to take the spotlight from his wife.

Leighton Meester and Garrett Hedlund in Country Strong

With its many catchy tunes and a major dose of country-tinged melodrama, Country Strong is a solidly entertaining film.


Shana Feste and actor Tobey Maguire in March 2010 in Hollywood, California.

• Shana Feste was working as actor Tobey Maguire’s nanny when she wrote the screenplay for Country Strong. Maguire was so impressed with it that he agreed to co-produce the film, which Feste also directed.

• Garrett Hedlund took guitar lessons for the role, not knowing how to play the guitar or sing previously.

County Strong‘s tune “Coming Home” received a 2011 Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, losing to Randy Newman’s “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3.



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