For the past few years, the film industry has been digging the musical genre. With movie hits like La La Land and the recent release of Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, people flock to movie theaters to get a glimpse of good music, direction and performances. But with all the blockbusters, we sometimes forget about the beauty that is an independent movie. Keeping in good faith with the musical tradition, the movie musical Country Crush brings viewers the classic story of young love with a new twist—or rather, a new twang.
Country Crush depicts the story of an aspiring country singer, Nancy Taylor, who meets the small-town mechanic, Charlie Bishop, by chance after a car malfunction on the side of the road. After a night of jamboree dancing, the two quickly fall in love. Once Nancy leaves to go back to her old life in the city, Charlie must decide whether it’s worth leaving the simple life he knows and follow the girl of his dreams. When tragedy strikes, his world shakes and the things he thought he knew become more unclear. With the cast performing the country soundtrack written specifically for the film, the musical touches your heart in a way you wouldn’t expect.
The cast brings a refreshing take to the film that might be lacking without them. Country singer Jana Kramer, known from her acting days as Alex Dupre on the hit television series One Tree Hill, gives the movie some much needed light as Katherine, sister-in-law to Charlie. As the voice of reason, Kramer takes on the role of the mother figure—not just to her son, but to the main character as well. Canadian country singer Madeline Merlo plays the damsel in distress, Nancy, to a tee. With the stereotypical blond hair and blue eyes, she brings the angelic quality that is very much in tune with the tale of young love. Although her performance is very different than Kramer’s, she brings a naïveté that is necessary for the film to exist. Sophie Tweed-Simmons, daughter of rock legend Gene Simmons, plays the anthesis role of Ainsley, a character there to show how cutthroat the music industry can become, along with the people in it. As Cody Bishop, actor Kevin McGarry plays the part of a doting brother, husband, dad and U.S. soldier with a sense of love, bravery and acceptance. Though he’s not in the movie for long, he plays an integral role in the story that makes everything click.
The real person to watch this for is neither Kramer, Merlo, Simmons nor McGarry. The true gem of the film is Canadian actor Munro Chambers, best known for his character Eli Goldsworthy on the teen television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. As the “perfect gentleman” Charlie, Chambers encompasses what most adults in their twenties feel, an internal debate of whether or not to follow your heart. He brings an authentic depth to the character that the others don’t bring to the table. When Charlie hurts, the audience hurts. The same goes for when Charlie is happy. His performance tugs on your heartstrings at just the right moments and the songs he performs surprises the audience, since Chambers is generally not known for his vocal ability, unlike Kramer and Merlo. Besides, he also happens to be a pretty face: where’s the harm in that? As someone who has watched his career for a while, this is Chambers’ best performance to date.
The soundtrack, backdrop to the film, will make any country music fan happy. The original music combines the old-school country our parents might have listened to with the more contemporary sound that we are familiar with today. There are songs that you’d be surprised to hear, while some just play into the genre in the traditional sense. Each song stands on its own while intertwining with the storylines seamlessly. Without the music, the movie would be the stereotypical love story that we always see made into a film.
If you want to sit down, kick back and enjoy a feel-good film with really great music, you can buy Country Crush on iTunes, Amazon and at Walmart. You won’t regret it!