Tuesday, January 25, 2011

country strong: a tango of double partners



well you can call it fate
or destiny
sometimes it really
seems like
it’s a mystery
cause you can be hurt by love
or healed by the same
timing is everything
and it can happen so fast
or a little bit late
timing is everything
Garrett Hedlund – Timing Is Everything Lyrics


as i watched the tangos being played out in the latest country music release "country strong", i found myself wrestling frustration. not because the story was lame (which i didn't find), nor because the performances were lacklustre (not my impression), but because the editing became the primary focus of this film. as each pastiche which was to color in a character or a relationship came on, it muddies the picture for me instead of adding another dimension and it was done abruptly. at one point, i whispered to my friend that i wanted to leave the theatre because the tim mcgraw character was being hued to be so narcissistic. that piece was definitely needed for the storyline, but the haphazard way it was thrown at us definitely lacked finesse.

my belief is that the editing was a mammoth task. the very courageous film had four complex characters literally doing a tango as double partners throughout the film. all the characters had depth. at times i found each of them distasteful and shallow, then at other times, i found myself rooting for each one individually. this single fact made the film enchanting for me.

add the fact that there is a person struggling with alcoholism, the enablers around her, and some people just struggling to make their own lives better than they were, and some quiet and tender singing along the journey and i was hooked.  i am very glad i saw it on a big screen. the projector broke at the theatre and we missed about 10 minutes in the middle of the final 30.  i got free follow up tickets, which made the film free.

sadly, i feel as if the editing team ran out of steam. i know there are times when i have so much work in front of me i get lost in what i am doing. this is how the film reads to me. secretly i am hoping for a director's cut, after he has some time and distance from the project. i so wanted to like it more. and i so wanted to hate it while i was watching it, but i couldn't. the stories seem real. the people seem fragile AND hardened. i guess just see for yourself.

i loved gwyneth paltrow, tim mcgraw, and leighton meester.  but my favorite had to have been the pretty pretty face of garrett hedlund. and the song he sings at the end of the film created a global  warming for me. i totally believe that timing is everything.