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Country Strong Review

Movies.com Critics

2.5

Dave White Profile

Grand Ole Opry of the Dolls Read full review

3.0

Jen Yamato Profile

Bring Kleenex, y’all! Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    45

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Country Strong comes to spontaneous life from time to time, despite maudlin devices and manipulative set pieces.

    Read Full Review

  • 30

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Feste, who has one previous effort as a writer-director, last year's "The Greatest," fails here to do the most basic thing -- give an audience a rooting interest, or any interest at all, in these four troubled people.

    Read Full Review

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The film keeps throwing things at you: drunk scenes, adultery scenes, "All About Eve" rise-of-the-young-rival scenes. Yet despite the presence of some appealing actors, none of it quite adds up.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Country Strong feels powerfully familiar.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Country Strong reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 14 & under

Well-acted drama deals with alcohol abuse and more.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Gwyneth Paltrow country music drama involves many mature issues that may not be appropriate for young teens -- including alcohol abuse, rehab, relapses, prescription-pill addiction, infidelity, and depression. A couple of scenes show couples about to have or having sex, but there's no nudity beyond a bare shoulder or back. Language gets stronger in the second half of the film, which features many more instances of "s--t," "a--hole," and their derivatives. Overall, the movie offers a strong warning about the consequences of alcohol abuse, but an even more central message is that love and fame don't always go hand in hand -- and that love should always win between the two.

  • Families can talk about the movie's central message about love versus fame. Which wins out in the end? Do you think that they can't co-exist?
  • How does the movie portray the consequences of drinking? Do you think it's a realistic depiction? What did Kelly's alcoholism cost her personally and professionally?
  • How does this movie -- which is about a fictional singer -- compare to dramas you've seen about real-life stars? Are there any musicians that Kelly, Beau, or Chiles remind you of?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Despite the movie's positive message about performing for the love of music and not for fame and money, there's some darker stuff here, too. Kelly's descent into depression and her relapse reinforce the idea that you have to choose between success (fame) and true love, because money corrupts everything, including marriage. The consequences of substance abuse are made clear.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Many of the characters -- including main character Kelly -- act self-destructively or selfishly, but Beau is a positive role model. He's a singer-songwriter who believes in the power of music and has no interest in becoming famous as long as he can still play for people. He sees beyond Chiles' beauty queen persona to fall in love with the deeper woman she is beneath the facade, and he is the only one who has Kelly's health foremost in his mind.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Several references to the alcohol-fueled accident that leads to the death of Kelly's unborn baby. Someone sends Kelly a bloodied baby doll with the words "Baby Killer" painted on it. James punches Beau in the face. Beau has to push away a couple of angry patrons in a bar. Beau punches a guy who's taking advantage of Kelly. A character dies unexpectedly.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Kelly and Beau are involved in an adulterous relationship. They kiss passionately and in one scene are shown on a bed, having just taken a shower (presumably together) and about to make love, but one of them stops it mid-kiss. Kelly and James kiss and embrace. Beau and Chiles flirt, undress down to their underwear, and eventually spend the night together -- bare backs and shoulders are shown, and it's clear they've made love, since the next scene is of them in bed together, with a sheet draped across them. Kelly is shown in a compromising position with a man who can help her professionally.

  • language false3

    Language: Swearing increases in frequency throughout the movie and includes "s--t," "a--hole," "bulls--t," "hell," "bitch," "damn," "oh my God," and "goddamn."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: A Ford truck.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Kelly is an alcoholic, and she relapses in several scenes that show her drinking -- alone, straight from a vodka bottle -- or at a bar acting very drunk. Beau smokes cigarettes, as do members of his band and members of the audience -- especially at bar gigs, where almost everyone is drinking. Prescription pills are abused.

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