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Country Strong (2011)



Average Rating: 4.5/10
Reviews Counted: 130
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 101

The cast gives it their all, and Paltrow handles her songs with aplomb, but Country Strong's cliched, disjointed screenplay hits too many bum notes.


Average Rating: 4.6/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 33

The cast gives it their all, and Paltrow handles her songs with aplomb, but Country Strong's cliched, disjointed screenplay hits too many bum notes.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 32,693

My Rating

Movie Info

Soon after a rising young singer-songwriter (Hedlund) gets involved with a fallen, emotionally unstable country star (Paltrow), the pair embarks on a career resurrection tour helmed by her husband/manager (McGraw) and featuring a beauty-queen-turned-singer (Meester). Between concerts, romantic entanglements and old demons threaten to derail them all. -- (C) Columbia


Musical & Performing Arts, Drama

Shana Feste

Apr 12, 2011


Screen Gems

Watch It Now


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All Critics (131) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (101) | DVD (5)

Paltrow gives it her best but is so conspicuously doing country. We're meant to believe she has spent half her life staring into a vodka bottle, but she glows like she's just stepped out of a yoga retreat.

March 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shana Feste's screenplay seldom rises above the level of daytime TV; the only actor who triumphs over her trite dialogue is Tim McGraw in a nonsinging role as Paltrow's husband and manager.

January 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If Feste actually believes that this show is country nirvana, she has no business making a country movie.

January 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie isn't worth the scuffed cowgirl boots it's scooting around in.

January 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfortunately weak.

January 11, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Catchy tunes, robust performances--but you can see every backstage-melodrama-cliche coming two scenes away.

January 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Richard
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A rawer, realer, and far more believable and compelling portrait of a self-destructive country artist's attempt at recovery than CRAZY HEART.

September 15, 2013 Full Review Source:

A little like modern country music - odd moments of sincerity, heart and authenticity peek through the plastic, the hype and the manufactured hokum.

January 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Nation
Movie Nation

This canned corn falls far short of the inspiring story of triumph and tragedy it wants viewers to buy.

September 9, 2011 Full Review Source: American Profile
American Profile

Though the plot is almost formulaic, "Country Strong" has two things going for it: talented actors and great music

August 16, 2011 Full Review Source: MediaMikes

Not exactly brimming with the essence of country music

August 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Some may cynically scoff at Country Strong's rollercoaster of feelings, yet it's almost completely appropriate considering the high drama present in the lyrics of country music.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

...Country Strong's downfall stems from its almost egregiously deliberate pace...

April 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

It's got enough melodrama and full-volume diva-meltdown histrionics to blow a movie like Burlesque out of the water.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source:

If McGraw had been armed with a microphone, perhaps the movie could have gained something in symmetry; if Kelly had a grounding in social history, perhaps she could better be believed.

March 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

The movie has its moments, but the characters are fuzzy around the edges...

March 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian

Paltrow is a poster girl for the virtues of yoga and a macrobiotic diet - which makes her far too healthy-looking to play the troubled, booze-sodden singer at the heart of [this] sudsy romantic melodrama.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

No saving grace here.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Some killer tunes plus a genuinely believable turn from Glee star Paltrow make Country Strong a show worth catching.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK] | Comment (1)
Daily Mirror [UK]

The good news is that Paltrow can sing; the bad news is the mawkish and one-paced drama she's playing in.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Independent

The backstage shenanigans and tear-stained soap opera are all too predictable in Country Strong but the performances lend it conviction and the soundtrack has enough heart and soul to endear it to true country music fans.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

This is a cheesy soap opera that dearly wants to be a country and western All About Eve. The songs aren't too bad; the dialogue is.

March 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK] | Comment (1)
Daily Mail [UK]

For me it's a no.

March 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian

I hated, loved, hated the movie. In that order.

March 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Financial Times | Comment (1)
Financial Times

Even a Paltrow fan (I remain one) would have to concede that her willowy frame and perfect skin do not betray a lifetime of vodka-swilling and throwing up in hillbilly bars.

March 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

As predictable and soulless as an over-produced country power ballad.

March 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Audience Reviews for Country Strong

I'm not really into country music, and there's plenty of it here, but I still enjoyed this one. I never really got why people are so nasty about Gwyneth as an actress - I'm not a huge fan, but I have always found her reasonably convincing on screen. Here she's really quite a sad figure as a country singer on a downward spiral - sort of how you can see Britney heading if she doesn't watch out! Leighton Meester is also good as an up and coming young singer. As is Garrett Hedlund - I have never seen him in anything else, but he is good here. The characters are all well written, and though it is almost two hours, it never feels all that long or like it is dragging. (Except maybe in the country singing parts, but on the whole, that is not too bad, and for some, it would probably be a plus!).
There's not a huge story here, and I can't see it appealing to everyone, but I liked it.
November 15, 2011

Super Reviewer

Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Garrett Hedlund, Leighton Meester, Tim McGraw, Alana Grace, Ed Bruce, Jeffrey Buckner Ford, Jeremy Childs, Marshall Chapman

Director: Shana Feste

Summary: While out on tour to revive her stalled career, once-popular country singer Kelly (Gwyneth Paltrow) falls for emerging newcomer Beau (Garrett Hedlund) and tries desperately to hide their burgeoning romance from her ever-present husband and manager, Ed (Tim McGraw). Written and directed by Shana Feste, this musical drama co-stars Leighton Meester as a former beauty queen trying to break out as a songstress.

My Thoughts: "In all I liked the movie, but the script just felt unfinished. Just not developed very well at all. There were some great moments in the film but it can't make up for the mess the script was. The acting was good by most. Tim McGraw is really surprising me with his acting skills, thought he was good. I still can't bring myself to care much for Gwyneth Paltrow's acting. I did on the other hand enjoy Leighton Meester's acting along with Garrett Hedlund. I thought they were good on screen together and had great chemistry. They both have good singing voices as well. Gwyneth just wasn't convincing for me as a country singer nor as an addict. The film does try to shed light on how troubled your soul can get from having such a demanding career. There were things I liked and things I didn't, but in the end the film wasn't as put together as the trailers made you believe it was. The best thing about the film was the music. So watch it just for that if not anything else."
August 15, 2011

Super Reviewer

Strong cast. I enjoyed the music portions, even though I am not a country music fan. I am, however, a Gwyneth fan. I think that she is a wonderful actress, and adds alot to every role she plays. Garrett Hedlund was much so that I found myself googling him. Tim McGraw..well. eh..someone else better could have done his part. But, all in all, a very good film.
June 9, 2011

Super Reviewer

I have never been a huge fan of country music, but this film completely changed my vision of it. You do not need to like country music to like this film, and I have no clue what the critics are crying about, but this film is wonderful! Yes, the story of an ex-rehab country singer making a comeback is in no way original, but combining all of the subplots, the fantastic acting by the entire cast, and the amazing romance filled lyrics, Country Strong comes out on top as a film that I could watch over and over again. This is the most underrated film of 2011 so far. With emotionally charged romance, a script that moves this basic story into perfection, music to cry over, and a cast that will have you cheering, this film is a very "strong" film. It left me in tears, but not enough that I couldn't have a smile of how well paced everything was. Country Strong came out of nowhere, and it is a shame that not many people will end up seeing it. I love this movie!
April 24, 2011
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

    1. Reporter: Chiles, who is your idol?
    2. Chiles Stanton: Kelly Canter and Jesus Christ.
    3. Beau Hutton: You and Jesus Christ, who would have thought?
    4. Kelly Canter: They love her.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (4 months ago)
    1. Kelly Canter: I love that baby too, Beau. I was sadder than anyone when I lost it. I can't change my past, you know? I can't change how I drink. I'm stronger than all of us, you know?
    2. Beau Hutton: I know.
    3. Kelly Canter: I'm gonna give them one hell of a show.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (5 months ago)
    1. Beau Hutton: I enjoy playin' music, I don't care who it's for.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (5 months ago)
    1. Kelly Canter: That's how it's done, sweetheart.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (5 months ago)
    1. James Canter: The first time I heard you sing... I thought it must be what sounds like. Thought I've died and gone to heaven.
    2. Kelly Canter: I love that story.
    3. James Canter: Because it's true.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (5 months ago)
    1. Kelly Canter: Don't be afraid to fall in love. It's the only thing that matters in life.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (5 months ago)
View all quotes (14)

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