Most helpful positive review
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
"For years no one has ever touched me"
on 21 September 2005
The beautiful Grace Kelly was awarded with the Oscar for Best Actress for her role as the long-suffering, embittered wife Georgie Elgin in The Country Girl, and rightly so. It's a beautifully understated performance and an interesting departure for Kelly, who obviously had the guts to take up such an unglamorous role and make it her own.
But the Country Girl isn't just about Grace Kelly. Bing Crosby and William Holden also turn in absolutely knockout performances and manage to hold their own against the actress in this unashamedly theatrical melodrama.
Based on Clifford Odets' play, The Country Girl is all about lies and deceit, and disappointment and blame; it's the story of a washed up, alcoholic actor, and his wife, who has spent the last ten years of her life caring for him, even though she's gone to seed because of it.
Bing Crosby stars as Frank Elgin. Frank is desperate to get back onto the stage. A natural showman, and a once famous singer, Frank has sunk to an all time low after a terrible accident took the life of his young son. Wracked with guilt and blaming himself for his death, Frank had turned to the bottle, with his control freak wife Georgie (Kelly) left to pick up the pieces.
But Frank is also a liar and a schemer, and tells Bernie Dodd (William Holden), his childhood idol, that it was actually Georgie who took up drinking and tried to commit suicide. This leads Bernie to treat Georgie badly, even though, after all these years, she has been trying to help Frank to stand on his own two feet.
Frank is among the best-crafted passive-aggressive characters ever and his different sets of lies to Georgie and to Frank end up in a nasty confrontation over who has Frank's best interests at heart. Frank sets it up so that he's never the bad guy and always the victim.
Each character brings their own bitterness and guilt to the situation - Frank just can't go on and let go of the pain; Georgie feels trapped in a dependent marriage, increasingly embittered; and Bernie, badly burned by his own failed marriage, sees only animosity in a women like Georgie.
Although some of the onstage dancing and singing routines are a little long and overly dull, the movie certainly makes up for this by giving us a number of rapid fire exchanges between the three lead characters. Viewers have a chance to see how Hollywood stars used to transform and enlarge performances without having to rely on the distractions of much action.
Consequently, the showdown between Bernie and Georgie is rather spectacular, it's one of the best dramatic scenes ever seen on film, even if it involves little more than angst-ridden dialogue.
But The Country Girl is mostly worth watching for the exquisite Grace Kelly who just shines as the character, who refers to herself as a simple "country girl" but who clearly contains far more wisdom, pent-up desires, and street smarts than she's willing to let on. Mike Leonard September 05.