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Film: Country Strong
It doesn't matter where you've been as long as you come back strong.

A 2011 film starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Leighton Meester, Garrett Hedlund and Country Music singer Tim McGraw. Paltrow stars as Kelly Canter, a Country Music singer with a flagging career and personal troubles who is just coming out of rehab. To restart her career, she goes on tour with her husband/manager James (played by McGraw) and two rising young country singers: Beau Hutton (Hedlund) and former beauty queen Chiles Stanton (Meester). Along the way, the four get involved in romantic entanglements.

The album's soundtrack was released in October, featuring songs performed by its stars and various other country singers. Both the title track (sung by Paltrow) and Sara Evans' "A Little Bit Stronger" have become top 40 hits on the country charts.

Tropes present:

  • Anti-Hero: Kelly is a selfish drug addict who cheats on her husband out of insecurity and wants to become a parent and make everything better again even when it's gotten to the point where she seems incapable of holding it together for even one show... but then she does something terribly sweet like write a song for Travis and befriend Chiles
    • All the characters are anti-heroes in a way, even Beau and Chiles
  • Anti-Role Model: Kelly. Chiles looks up to her but in reality, Kelly is pretty self destructive.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Kelly wants to have a child again but her husband, James doesn't believe they are ready yet
    • Even to the point that he hasn't really forgiven her for their baby's death and hasn't been intimate with her at all. That and all the changes her addiction has made on her
  • Backstory: They hint that Chiles has this. She says that her parents are school teachers, but later on we find out that her parents both went to prison and at least one of them went for something violent. Only her mom is out now. and the fact that Kelly sees this makes it seem that she has some dysfunction in her family too.
  • Black and Gray Morality: A lot of it in the movie. Kelly cheats on James and is paranoid that Chiles will replace her and is cheating with James (neither of which is true) and is good with children and wants a child (but is in absolutely no place where she could do that) and then there's James (who is faithful to his wife, but his horrible decision to pull her out of rehab early, propels a lot of the problems in the film.
    • Beau is sleeping with Kelly and genuinely cares about her. But she's pretty much using him. He also teases Chiles and doesn't take her seriously for a long time. When he does, their relationship starts very shortly after he ends things with Kelly (which he did half-heartedly)
  • Book Ends: Almost. The movie begins with Beau playing by himself in an almost-empty room and ends in a crowded bar in California, but this time Chiles comes to play with him. Hinting that they might stay together after all.
  • Brainless Beauty: Everyone starts off thinking Chiles is only this
  • Brainy Brunette: Chiles wants to be this instead of just the Brainless Beauty (and gets made fun of for it too)
  • Break the Cutie: This almost happens to Beau but he ends up better in the long run, even after the painful loss of Kelly
  • Butt Monkey: unfortunately Leighton Meester's character, Chiles Stanton, acts as a butt monkey for a long time in the film. She's representative of 'pop' and appearance. She pretty much gets picked on by everyone (even her idol, Kelly) until she proves to them that she's more than just a Brainless Beauty — or trying to be.
  • Country Music: Of course.
  • Character Development: For Beau and Chiles but it's almost too late for Kelly and James
  • Driven to Suicide
  • Drugs Are Bad: Some people think the movie glamorizes drugs and drinking — but considering the whole film is about how Kelly's problems are hurting everyone... that seems completely averted.
  • Dumb Blonde: Or brunette, everyone thinks Chiles is
  • Dysfunction Junction: James & Kelly. They both seem to have been genuinely in love, but the addiction and events in Dallas have put a huge distance between them. And they both can't handle it
  • Mr. Fanservice: Garrett Hedlund & Tim McGraw? They can definitely pull off all the scruff and flannel.
  • Family Versus Career: this comes up, but also in "love versus career"
  • Friendly Enemy: One-sided but Kelly considers Chiles her younger rival, meanwhile Chiles admires her. It becomes pretty funny.
    Chiles: (hopeful) are we like... friends now?
    Kelly no (laughs) not at all, sweetie!
    • and then, when Chiles asks for her autograph, Kelly signs it, "Stanton, stay away from my husband" while talking to her cheerfully. (Chiles doesn't even notice until, presumably, off screen she sees)
  • Good Bad Girl: Kelly Canter
  • Love Triangle: McGraw's character becomes involved with one between Kelly and Chiles.
    • Although technically, his character is faithful. It's Kelly who cheats on her husband with Beau and then sort of screws Beau over as well
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer makes it seem like the story is about Kelly and Chiles competing over who is the bigger star, which happens, but it's definitely not the entire focal point of the movie. It has a lot more to do with Kelly's addiction and her relationship with James and meanwhile, Chiles and Beau and their rise in the business.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Beauty queen-turned-country singer Chiles Stanton is totally not an expy of Taylor Swift. Why do you ask?
  • Pretty in Mink: Kelly has a fur-trimmed coat.
  • Refusal of the Call: Beau almost does this when James asks him to come on tour but then agrees when James mentions Kelly. Eventually he does 'refuse the call' and settles for a happy life in California playing for small crowds and improving his act
  • Shown Their Work: To an extent. Hedlund and Paltrow both took voice and singing lessons to help make their turns as country music singers more credible.
  • Southern Belle: Chiles Stanton.
  • The Heart: Beau.

ChuckCreator/Zoic StudiosThe Crazies
127 HoursAcademy Award for Best Original SongTangled
CoriolanusFilms of the 2010sCourageous

alternative title(s): Country Strong
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