3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Is that what it means to be country strong?,
This review is from: Country Strong (DVD)
I went into this movie, feeling like I'd already seen it from the previews and for the most part that was true. There were missing pieces and one shocking ending, but mostly true.
I found it hard to like the characters save one and that was Chiles who was just so innocent. You felt pity for Kelly who I felt like in some way knew she wasn't ready but despite the title, she wasn't strong enough to make anyone listen. Beau is too busy being completely in love with her and James is too focused on trying to save what is left of her career and forget the past. To be completely honest, I think Beau was the character that I disliked the most and I can't exactly pinpoint why. I love Garrett Hedlund and I think he plays the part well, but something about his character rubbed me the wrong way. He's a jerk half the time to Chiles, only really nice to her when he's drunk. Then there is this constant pull you feel between him and Chiles while he's supposed to be having his affair with Kelly. He'll look at Chiles with the same puppy dog look of affection in his eyes that he looks at Kelly with. Now it's possible he can love them both but for different reasons. Perhaps he was initially attracted to Kelly because of who she was and all that she had accomplished and later it grew into a kind of protective, brotherly love. But with Chiles, maybe she just makes him feel alive and he likes how it feels not to have to constantly worry about what she's doing. But that's me just trying to make it sound okay in my head. But from where I'm standing, he's just as lost as everyone else with just as many issues. Hm, maybe that's the point. But there's just something about him that just...I don't know. He's that guy who can have something really good going for him and he'll mess it up on purpose, content to live in his self-created misery.
The ending...oh the ending. A previous reviewer called Kelly weak and I'm not sure I can agree with that statement. Every thing she did that night was planned. From her advice to what song she chose to sing last. Does it make her weak to want that? (It's hard trying to not give anything away). I've never been in that place where that character had to be so when it came down to it, I may not be /strong/ enough to do what she did. And never having been in that place, I can't even begin to imagine what her mental state was like. It took a lot of guts, in my opinion. Everyone one else were the weak ones because despite how much they all loved Kelly, they weren't strong enough to give her the strength she needed to make a different choice.
Her husband's motives are somewhat clear and somewhat cloudy. Sometimes you get the impression that he wants to get things back to the way they were so that he may distance himself from being her husband and solely be her manager. Sometimes it seems that he wants to save her reputation--he knows that she's not going to really come back, but he doesn't want her fans to remember her for the tragedy that had happened the previous year. He's torn between caring for her and trying to make things right for her professionally. In the end, I think that their relationship is too broken and that there's no way they could ever get back to how they were when they first fell in love. And he knows that too, which is why he focuses too much on her career.
Did I enjoy this movie? I'm not really sure. Overall, I felt like relationships (like Beau and Chiles) are so underdeveloped that the fact that it even exists in the film is an afterthought. For it to have been two hours long, I feel like they missed the mark on some things like that and spent too much time on other things. Beau and Chiles didn't have to have a relationship at all and the movie would have carried just the same without it--things like that.
I will probably buy this one just for Garrett Hedlund and the beautiful music. To watch the cast be on the stage and the light sparkling in their eyes, that's something right there. It makes you want to stand up and sing along at the top of your lungs and go out and buy a guitar, even if you have no idea how to play it.
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Initial post: Jan 17, 2011 12:38:16 AM PST
I think that the complexities of these charcters it what makes it great.
I think Beau does love Kelly. The real Kelly Canter, not the KELLY CANTER that James Canter has helped create. I do agree Country Strong is not a great title for the movie, but here's my thoughts on Beau.
Beau's character is frustrating at times because he's the most grounded yet still he seems to waiver between Chiles and Kelly. Beau sees what fame has done to Kelly and he wants the real Kelly Canter. However he can recognize that she is sick. He doesn't like Chiles initially because he feels that she is fake. He belittles her because he feels like she pretends to be something she's not. And in fact she is pretending. Her whole life is a farce. She is much more complex than she lets on. Beau hangs out with Chiles after he's been drinking and is just looking for someone to have sex with. But what he finds is someone he wasn't expecting. Then she kicks him out when James knocks. He's hurt the next morning so he treats her bad. But then she gives him the song she's written and he knows that she's so much more than she is showing. She's like a young Kelly before fame took her away from herself.
He is loyal to Kelly and yes its entangled in a web of hurt. He is a loyal friend to her until the end of the movie even though he knows he can't love her. He can't save her. But he can save Chiles and he's fallen for her too. Beau, while in some sense the hero of the story is also complex because he is so torn between these two women. Chiles is like a girl, and Kelly is a woman but Kelly had a lot of problems. She's very damaged and Beau knows that she'll never escape from being KELLY CANTER and he's smart enough to know it's not a life he wants.
James is in denial and pushing Kelly when he knows she isn't ready. He wants KELLY CANTER(the headliner) back and can only love her when both Kelly and KELLY come together. The struggle for Kelly is that she just wants to be Kelly and not KELLY CANTER. She can't give anymore of herself away again. It's clear from the beginning that she isn't ready and that she is mentally not ready to do this anymore. Beau see the real Kelly, and while they both fall in love in some ways Kelly is in love with Beau only because he makes her feel what James can't. What James once felt for her. She's in denial and punishes herself endlessly for the mistakes she made in her past. She's longing for James to forgive her. She wants to leave KELLY CANTER behind. James isn't ready too. KELLY CANTER is the only part of Kelly he's still holding onto. They've hurt each other too much but still can't let go.
I really really liked this movie. It's deep and complex and dark. But I think it's honest and real. I think that love isn't simple or easy. I think when Kelly is singing to little Travis that James sees a piece of her - the real Kelly that he loves. When he dances with her she's so full of hope that James will love her for her again. It makes her sad, scared- she's so fragile now. So scared that the real James doesn't love the real Kelly. She's full of hope. And she starts to cry and it pushes him away (just like she feared). Then you see him standing in the hallway just so broken. You know then that he loves her but he knows that the real Kelly is gone.
I think that is SO real. It's so hard when two poeple do love each other SO much that they can't let go, but there are so many alternating layers between love and hurt that they can never land in the same place. They are too far gone. But that is real life - sometimes for some poeple. Unfortunately. You want these two people- desperately- to see how much the other cares. You can see it- but they cannot and will not.
It's honesty is very profound.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2011 8:13:14 AM PST
Ashley L. Carter says:
While I can agree with your assessment, I feel like it took more analyzing to get there than just watching the movie. I mean that these things weren't easily seen or developed in the script as they could/should have been.
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