OFFSTAGE: Faith Hill Tried to Warn Me About Country Strong

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

I assumed Country Strong was just going to be another victory-over-the-bottle kind of story. As if all of Gwyneth Paltrow’s country A-lister character’s rehab would be behind her, and the plot would be about her triumphant return to superstar status. Kind of the like The Keith Urban Story, if there was one. I found out just how wrong I was at a screening earlier this week. This is a dark, sad and tragic movie about how some obstacles are literally impossible to overcome. And how there’s kind of an ugly side to Nashville, but this film exposes it beautifully. But unlike other music-industry stories, this one doesn’t give you a surreal sense that everything’s gonna turn out just fine. I should’ve known that after I talked with Faith Hill about the movie back in November. I asked her if she thought my kids (15, 13 and 12) might like it. She said absolutely not. “It’s just a mature story,” she said. And now, having seen it, her warning makes all kinds of sense. So leave the kids at home, go see the movie, and come back here and give us your reviews.