Film Review – ‘A Star is Born’ (2018)

It is with pleasure to state that Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is a success. Cooper proves to be a serious talented Hollywood A-Lister as he has brought the fourth excellent remake from three previous film adaptations. Most people will be familiar with the 1976 version that can currently be viewed on Netflix. The Streisand/Kristofferson version remains a classic. The songs from Barbra Streisand are so touching and the Oscar-winning song, ‘Evergreen’ will always touch our hearts. One will argue that the 1976 adaptation is dated, hence for Cooper to bring his modern version of this gem of a film is a wise decision. ‘A Star is Born’ will always be able to win an audience as it contains the one theme we can all relate to. Love! When two people love each other and you have faith in it, why would you want that bond to be broken? If the bond is being broken, the audience will enjoy the rollercoaster of hope, happiness and heartbreak as we watch two lovers rise and fall.
The premise is still the same and conventional. A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral. Bradley Cooper’s country/rock singing character Jackson Maine is impeccable. He has many redeeming qualities, due to his cool, charismatic and charming demeanour. However, it is the perfect casting of pop singer, Lady Gaga playing Ally that deserves some serious Golden Globe buzz. It is a guarantee she will pick up the gong for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy category. Her performance of metaphorically playing a vulnerable caterpillar turning into a beautiful bright butterfly will be hailed as the most notable credit to her resume.
Literally, her portrayal of Ally is timid, insecure and vulnerable. When Cooper’s Jackson Maine meets her singing La Vie en Rose in a drag queen night club, for him it is love at first sight. The audience can easily empathise with Cooper and fall in love with Lady Gaga too. Her singing is flawless and is perfect for the leading role because she’s a huge belter just like Streisand. Nonetheless, Lady Gaga makes it her own. To see Cooper bring her out of her shell and boost her confidence is beautiful filmmaking. The chemistry between Ally and Jackson is so believable that you hope nothing can break this love.
To witness Ally (Gaga) rise to pop singing stardom and for Jackson (Cooper) to fall due to drugs and alcohol, will make our hearts melt. We are impressed that she doesn’t give up on him. She abides by the ‘in sickness and in health’ vows. The fact that Cooper breaks down in tears to Gaga due to shame and humiliation of his illness is demoralising, yet powerful at the same time. ‘A Star is Born’ is simply a love story and a brilliant one due to its tragedy as we see love turn to turmoil. It is exquisite to see little romantic scenes as Gaga walks off and for Cooper to call her back and say, “Hey, I just wanted to take another look at you.” Flattery for all the right reasons will work, especially when Gaga blushes and looks surprised to feel loved and doted on by a rock star.
The soundtrack is all original music sung beautifully by Cooper and Gaga, from country, pop, and ballads. Without a doubt, there will be an Oscar win for best song, but which song will remain a mystery due to being a wide selection of remarkable songs. We are truly seeing the lives of musical celebrities and when tragedy strikes, it’s a clever directorial decision from Cooper to not show them being lionised by the media. Instead, we just see the calamity from their point of view as if you are there with them and not distanced by them. ‘A Star is Born’ is an unmissable Drama/Musical that will find a huge audience. It is a pleasure to watch and it will be remembered for years to come. This is due to the fact that it will certify Lady Gaga into a Hollywood film leading lady, way up there with Streisand, Cher, and Madonna.

Aly Lalji | [rating=5]

Drama, Music | USA, 2018 | 15 | 3rd October 2018 (UK) | Warner Bros Pictures | Dir.Bradley Cooper | Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle