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.
Verdict 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.