Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga electrify the screen in A Star Is Born from Warner Bros. Pictures. Cooper, who also directed and co-wrote the screenplay, stars as Jackson Maine, a talented but troubled musician nearing the end of his career due to his age and alcoholism. After a performance one night, Jackson decides to stop at bar for a drink, and little does Jackson know his life will change when he lays eyes on Ally (Lady Gaga).
A talented singer herself with some self-esteem issues, Ally is curious as to why Jackson is showing interest in her. However, with his charm, Jackson wins Ally over. Naturally, the two fall in love, and Jackson helps Ally make it in the troublesome world of the music industry.
The central plot of A Star Is Borins not a new one as this is the third remake of a 1937 classic. The story is that of a crumbling superstar whose career is beginning to crumble due to drinking finds himself when he meets a young and beautiful talent. In all honesty, the story was due for a remake; however, unlike some recent remakes, Cooper’s version gets it right.
From the moment Cooper takes the stage, I immediately saw Jackson the musician and not Bradley Cooper the actor. Throughout the film, Cooper takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions with his portrayal of Jackson. In terms of his directing, as a first timer, Cooper also does a fantastic job from his shot choices during the concert sequences to the subtle moments between Jackson and Ally.
While I have not heard that much of Lady Gaga’s music, I have to say she does a phenomenal job in her first lead acting role. Given Lady Gaga’s superstar status, a non-casual moviegoer may make the mistake thinking that Gaga did not need to do much acting as Ally. However, just as with Cooper’s role of Jackson, the moment Gaga appears on screen, I saw Ally and not Lady Gaga. Throughout the film we watch Ally grow from shy talented singer to global superstar.
Given that A Star Is Born is a musical, the soundtrack has to come to perfection, and while I am not normally into rock or country, I found myself nodding my head during numerous moments. The song “Shallow,” which is a key component in the film marketing campaign, is without a doubt going to be nominated come awards season, while the closing number the beautiful ballad “I’ll Never Love Again” just may become one of Lady Gaga’s signature songs.
The chemistry between Cooper’s Jackson and Gaga’s Ally is also one of my favorite aspects of the film. The two have a genuine love story, and I found myself rooting for the duo the entire film. In hindsight, the chemistry is so good, I did not have even notice that three of the other strong performers are given little screen time. Sam Elliott as Jackson’s brother/manager; Andrew Dice Clay as Lorenzo, Ally’s dad; and Dave Chappelle as Noodles, Jackson’s friend all shine in their limited roles.
The latest version of A Star Is Born succeeds not only as a beautiful love story but also as engaging musical. While I cannot say that A Star Is Born is the best movie for me of the fall season, I do highly recommend it.
Final Grade: A