A Star Is Born Review
- 2hr 15min
- Drama | Romance
- Oct 2018
- Bradley Cooper
After performing a show, bullish country star Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) stops by a bar in desperate need for a drink. While there, he encounters Ally (Lady Gaga), a singer bursting with raw talent and a girl Jackson can’t help but fall for.
A story that has stood the test of time, with this the third remake of the 1937 original. Bradley Cooper making his directorial debut has undoubtedly taken inspiration from Judy Garland’s 1954 entry and Barbra Streisand’s 1976 version to mould his vision. From this, the choice for Lady Gaga as his ‘Star’ fits the bill perfectly and A Star Is Born has a fresh style for modern audiences.
Bradley Cooper has progressed from starring in adult comedies to showcasing his diverse acting abilities in hits ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Sniper’ with this latest instalment giving him the opportunity to enhance his reputation even further with a stint behind the camera. As the gravelly speaking Jackson Maine, Cooper gives one of his best performances to date, expertly mastering a character desperate for success but at the same time fighting his own demons. Behind the camera, the desire to keep the story shown from the couple’s viewpoint helps build the pairs relationship whilst highlighting the struggles relationships in the music industry can cause.
If Cooper can put this much love and graft into every project then he will firmly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after directors. Screenwriter Eric Roth must also get a mention for his pragmatic screenplay that enhances the overall realism of the film.
The questionable aspect of A Star Is Born was always going to be whether it can supply a worthy soundtrack - and it most certainly can! Cooper offers his best here but needs a powerful musical presence - step forward Lady Gaga. With a back catalogue of world-wide hits to show, Lady Gaga has matured into one of this generations leading singer-songwriters. From a powerful ballad to the unforgettable performance of ‘Shallow’ the first action after the credits conclude it’s inevitable that many of the movie’s songs will be finding their way into viewers’ playlists. Presumably using her own experiences to shape Ally’s rise, Gaga is truly in her element when on stage whether performing solo or in duet with Cooper.
Clearly the energy of performing at Glastonbury can be felt as the movie moves the audience from a feeling of cinema goer to concert goer. Cooper has stated that, “The music really became a character in the movie”, this definitely becomes apparent, as many of the lyrics perfectly express the untold deeper feelings of our couple.
However, great soundtrack aside, the film relies upon a genuine and convincing acting performance by Gaga. In her first major role she exceeds expectations to such an extent that award season could be a busy occasion for the Gaga household. The role may be tailor-made for an actress but she effortlessly transforms into her character Ally. The stages of growth Ally goes through are superbly realised, with her starting out uncomfortable and self-conscious that her large nose is holding her back, to gaining confidence from Jackson, showcasing her star brightening as her partner’s fades. What’s immediately noticeable is the natural chemistry displayed by Gaga and Cooper. They complement each other’s attributes flawlessly, with enough drama and emotion to leave a lasting impact.
The supporting characters help break you away from the couple’s bubble and give necessary perspective on events with Jackson’s brother Bobby (Sam Elliott) stating the importance of care Ally must take around Jackson and his rock-star lifestyle. As a result, the love story is much more compelling and believable and seeing Jackson show more compassion towards Ally than himself, even in his worst moments, creates empathy towards them both.
If there’s one slight criticism that can be levelled at A Star Is Born it’s that it lingers slightly too long in parts of the final act, but this should not detract from what is a masterpiece of a movie. This timely remake showcases the talents of all involved, with a score that beautifully compliments the delicate balance of passion and love.
A Star Is Born shines as one of the year's biggest triumphs so far and never has a title been more appropriate for a film.