Movie Reivews Country Strong
Country Strong has all the makings of a melodramatic country ballad, several critics suggest, while pointing out that the movie is likely to find a receptive audience among the folks who appreciate such music. The movie stars Gwyneth Paltrow as a burned-out country singer looking for a comeback. Manohla Dargis appraises her performance this way "The bronzed Ms. Paltrow gets by with a thin, serviceable voice (she sings her own songs) and an actor's confidence. If she plays the role of the star well enough, it's because she is one, not because she has been given the necessary material." But Kyle Smith in the New York Post remarks "It's hard to buy Paltrow as a product of Pigslop, Texas, who says things like, 'I ain't never had a man be so gennull with me.' ... I tried not to laugh when Paltrow wallows, stricken, on her hotel bed in a fur coat listening to Patsy Cline or empties her guts into a trash barrel. But I failed. Maybe Sandra Bullock, with a better director, could have pulled this off. But Gwyneth, with her steely abs, does not look like she's been through the wringer. She looks like she doesn't even know where the wringer is and would have to check with the maid to find out." Down in the heartland, Tom Maurstad writes in the Dallas Morning News that Country Strong is likely to become a classic -- but not in the good sense. "With Paltrow's endless geysers of torment and hysterics, the who's-zooming-who tangle of romantic intrigue and its hilariously dead-serious images of stardom ... Country Strong seems destined to become a Valley of the Dolls -like cult favorite," he writes. And Roger Ebert, the man who wrote the screenplay for Valley of the Dolls, has his own take on the movie, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times that it is "one of the best movies of 1957 ... a throwback." Then he adds "I eat this stuff up."