Kelly Canter (Paltrow) plays a fading country star who embarks on a comeback tour that's complicated by her feelings for Garrett Hedlund's up-and-comer, a tricky home life and addiction problems.
If you’re the type of person who likes both kinds of music, Country and Western, you’ll eat up this spirited slice of Crazy Heart Lite like a bowl of momma’s grits. And if the appeal of C&W — even the less maudlin, rocked-up end of it — does elude you, you might still find Country Strong mildly diverting. Garrett Hedlund works his butt off as a striving singer-songwriter who falls in with a faded star (Gwyneth Paltrow, also game) on his rise to the top. And Nashville royalty Tim McGraw bestows big-time credibility as Paltrow’s manager-husband. To call it clichéd would be to call Dolly Parton ‘chesty’, but it follows the playbook faithfully and with plenty of heart (crazy or not). Good tunes, too.
C&W lovers will lap it up - look out for some stellar Nashville cameos - and there's big-lunged uplift to see you through the cornball plot turns.
Reviewed by Simon Braund