A Star Is Born movie: Review, Cast, Director

Lawrence Kim
October 16, 2018

Four-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook and American Sniper) had a lot to lose when he not only chose to star in a new adaptation of the iconic love story A Star Is Born, but to co-write and direct the film too. The instant connect between two strangers, the shared confidences, the insecurity of the "big nose" (a recurrent motif) feels genuine, even in the dangerously heavy sounding bits like ME telling Ally: "Everyone in the world is talented, but just a few have something to say, and it's those that the world is willing to lend an ear to". But Jackson sees something special in Ally as both a person and performer, and won't let her back down from realizing her potential. Eventually, their fates switch, and Ally's profile rises as Jackson's falls; a star is born as another fades. The realistic portrayal of the shy, talented personality that Lady Gaga brings to the character is juxtaposed with Bradley Cooper's magnetic portrayal of a talented artist with hidden demons. She is often her most raw and intimate when performing at a heightened theatricality, and can bend the conventional genre of pop music into surprising and personal directions. It's the same alley she will escape in a black Escalade when she finally relents to go see Jackson perform, and to cinematographer Matthew Libatique's credit, the narrow street seems to lead us directly toward her destiny. Both the "authentic" and "inauthentic" sides of Ally's music - for lack of better terms - are showcased on the soundtrack, but here they have no narrative arc to signal which songs are fraught and which aren't. A few scenes later, Ally belts "La Vie En Rose". It's enchanting and awe-inspiring. That's who she was all along. There were also some scenes that didn't help the plot at all or that in the end didn't really matter. The aging country rocker Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) drunkenly stumbles into a transvestite bar called Bleu Bleu just as James Mason's Norman Maine stumbled into a bar of the same name in the 1954 version.

But you can not ignore the fact that both the leading stars perform attractive original songs throughout the film. She's a truly gifted singer, and the film uses that to maximum effect (expect an Oscar nomination). While Cooper and Gaga are trying to match up to each other's mindblowing acting chops, it is their singing and music that stays with you. She's wary of him at first because he's a drunkard - they met during one of his binges and she's afraid he'll leave her once the alcohol fizzles off. Jack's addiction is thoroughly explored. While the man in the story can not say the same, Cooper has succeeded.

Underlying the gripping relationship is the film's soundtrack, co-written by Gaga and Cooper.

This is the fourth time Hollywood has told this story. The melodies are catchy, the lyrics unique, and the vocals powerful.

The supporting performances in the film are not to go unmentioned.

There is at the heart of this film three super solid performances.

Not only does the characters' relationship keep the audience on the edge of their seats, but the music in the film is outstanding.

Taking bits and pieces from every one of its antecedents, the new version of A Star Is Born stitches together a story that is unbelievable on its face but entirely believable on its own terms.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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