“They all start out as Juliets and wind up as Lady Macbeths.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
At first, Kelly’s performance is reasonably impressive, given that she does bravely (?) allow herself to be completely stripped of all charm and appeal (not to mention make-up), and convincingly embodies her character’s deeply held bitterness; but her portrayal ultimately emerges as one-note — and the film itself is such a troubled vehicle that it’s impossible to ever fully engage with her dilemma, or feel any genuine sympathy for her.
At its heart, The Country Girl is a tale of corrosive misogyny, with Holden’s cynical, divorced director so embittered by his own past romantic challenges that he seems to be questioning the utility of women in general — as evidenced in the following disturbing quotes:
It’s up to Kelly, naturally, to convince Holden that all she’s ever wanted was for her husband to succeed — in other words, that’s she’s a good 1950s wife rather than a shrewish impediment to his happiness.
To say more about this evolution would give away spoilers — but suffice it to say that both her character arc and Holden’s feel palpably calculated. Meanwhile, Crosby provides the film’s only truly sympathetic performance:
Seemingly unafraid to present his character as the complex and conflicted individual he is, his cripplingly insecure Frank Elgin comes across as all too authentic and pathetic.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: