Review: 4 Stars
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Pure Country: Pure Heart had a specific goal in mind: tell a female empowering story. The movie is centered around two daughters finding a letter about their late father which begins their journey that leads them down a musical road. Producer Hunt Lowry who worked with Chris Cain on the previous Pure Country 2: The Gift was tapped to give a new spin on the franchise. Director Damon Santostefano (Another Cinderella Story, Three To Tango) then was chosen for his background with previous female driven movies.
The cast includes Tony nominee Laura Bell Bundy (Legally Blonde: The Musical) and a performance scene with Willie Nelson. Lowry told us that the first meeting they had, both he and the Director kept Bundy in mind for the film. After a chance dinner and a surprise for Lowry’s daughter who was a fan of Bundy, the actress was chosen to play an intricate role in helping the young female characters find their voices. Director Damon Santostefano said, “She [Bundy] was born to play this kind of a role, she has had a country music recording career and still does. She has had kind of a wild upbringing, she is from the South,” he continues, “I can’t imagine anybody else playing the role frankly.”
Ronny Cox (C.J.) of the film told us, “I think the music is quite good in the show.” The movie boasts 23 songs, curated by music supervisors Frankie Pine (Nashville, Mozart in the Jungle) and Mandi Collier (Nashville, Secrets and Lies) with 16 new songs making their debut in the film. Aside from the music, the movie also has a special message about dealing with loss and how to cope. “If we all can find a way to deal with loss and go on from that,” Cox says, “That’s what this film is able to do.”
Amanda Detmer (Elizabeth Spencer) who took on the role as the widowed mother in the movie told us about her character, “I like the fact that she was sort of isolated, in a sense, from the story that’s going on and that when she enters the story and her world starts to open up and sort of the lights come on.” The actress also inspired the cast to mimic her natural Southern accent, so no dialect coaches were needed on-set. “I kind of go Southern really easily, I grew up in North Carolina for about a year and a half when I was little and I got a really thick accent. So when I get around people who have a really thick accent sometimes I even forget and I slip into it,” Detmer stated.
The two actresses Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Piper Spencer) and Kaitlyn Bausc (Ada Spencer) were also a natural fit for their roles of playing the two main sister characters. Both were musically inclined and more specifically followed country music. Buasc stated, “The fact that it was a country music film is really exciting for me and that’s a huge part in why I wanted to do it.”
The two were not given much time to make their voices harmonize naturally, as if they were related. Bausc said, “When we auditioned together for the first time, we had to go outside in the courtyard and figure out what song we were going to sing in 5 minutes,” she continues “The first time we sang together, I felt like my throat vibrated a little bit and I thought oh my gosh this is the coolest thing ever, this is really special to get to sing with Cozi.”
In regards to the strong female cast Zuehlsdorff explained, “We just show ourselves as strong women in the film without having to proclaim ‘I am a strong woman’ and that’s the strongest way to combat any type of prejudice.”
This is the third film in the Pure Country series. Other titles include Pure Country and Pure Country 2: The Gift.
- Music Video: “We Don’t Run”
- Pure Country: You’ve Got to Have Heart
- Me Oh My-Meemaw’s PecanPie!