director: Bradley Cooper
writers: Bradley Cooper, Eric Roth & Will Fetters
starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott and Andrew Dice Clay
genre: Drama | Music | Movie Romance
released: 4 October 2018 (Germany & Greece), 5 October 2018 (USA), 18 October 2018 (Australia)
based on the films: ‘A Star is Born’ from 1954 & 1976
It’s not too early to say that this film may be the ‘La La Land‘ of the upcoming awards season and will bring much needed glamour and star power that they crave. Moreover, its presence amongst other films will also be significant due to the actual level of professionalism and artistry put into it, as it is one of few films of this year that should be seen in the cinema and were the drama is genuine.
Jackson (Bradley Cooper) is a country rock artist whose lost belief in a lot of things in life due to his troubled past and despite his success, calm hasn’t found him yet. Ally (Lady Gaga) is a blue collar girl hoping to make into the big time despite her uncharacteristic looks for the mainstream musical scene and is still hopeful something can go her way.
When Jackson happens to stumble into the right bar and sees her perform one night, he will not only fall in love with her, but also will make it his mission to show the world her talent and what he sees in her and what she could offer to the world. In return she will catch a glimpse of whats its like being the center of attention and how with fame not everything will go your way.
Having not seen the original films of which this is a remake of, I wasn’t sure what I was in for in terms of content or story conclusion. Its trailer was good enough to give a general feel (at least the first trailer/teaser) and not ruin any potential developments of the plot, which had plenty. Overall, this film is inspiring, sad and great to watch. Its music is great all around, with the work put in for the original songs written and background music being amazing and both Cooper and Gaga outperform in their musical capabilities, but also acting performances. Especially the fact that these songs have so much to say about the characters themselves in regards to their past, present and future. Making the factor of enjoying the music not only on a musical level, but also in its usage as a storytelling device.
However, what shapes this film more than anything else is the way director Bradley Cooper treats his story from beginning to end. From the way the story sets in, to the sudden outbursts of drama on screen and to the captivated feeling you have from the film’s authentic take of the music world and characters. Its one of those films that makes you feel in their shoes in how a relationship evolves from the state of infatuation to forgiving your companions faults and hoping for the best no matter what happens. The film also doesn’t pull any punches and is without moments where you will be questioning character’s motives or actions. Everything is nuanced and overacting is not something that the production was going for. This lends not only to the realism of main relationship, but also to their musical careers within the film. With everything treated on the ground floor where these artists truly occupy the space and not in the non existent and superfluous reality of mass media and sensualized entertainment.
Furthermore, this is not your typical happy go lucky success story that we have come to expect of Hollywood or the type of film that is set on presenting a positive story where the ending is going to leave you depressed with a out of nowhere twist. As that would be cliched and distasteful to the content and one and done too many times. Whereas the route Bradley Cooper chose to take was to keep it serious from the beginning, without giving direct hints of whats to come, but gradually building you too a reality/possibility and you accepting it at the very end with a heavy heart. Knowing fully well that sometimes there isn’t much one can do to get through to another person, no matter who you are in their life.
With that said, as much as the dramatic side was taken care, there is also the more romantic and showbiz side that was as well. With the little tidbits and insights on the nature of showbiz being adequate, but also never cheesy. In particular, Ally’s climb to the top of fame from nothing was believable and never overdone. In more detail, Lady Gaga’s performance as Ally sold the blue collar girl getting her chance at fame, but also being able to go toe to toe with the big star Jack. Who is disenchanted with fame and life and saw only the light for living again with Ally. With her moments of fame and challenges being gradually felt with her and never feeling out of bounds. Moreover, the romance worked as their attraction to each other wasn’t only a superficial one, but a deeper one as both saw what one could be and what one of them truly was with and without one another. While also their deep love and appreciation for their craft as well. Additionally, their was enough meat in the subplots of both the main characters with their family members in Jack’s brother and Ally’s father to further deepen their character drama and history. Both incredibly portrayed by Sam Shepard and Andrew Dice Clay and who have their arcs organically conclude within the film.
Finally, if there was anything to gripe about, it would maybe the way the film started in its fairly-tale like fashion with its opening credits and potentially also the way Gaga sings on the street with and without Jackson. Naturally, I’m reaching here, but that’s truly as far as you could go in complaining about this film in all honesty, despite the fact that it is also a remake.
Stars weren’t born with this film, but they did blossom further into even better artists in their respective fields. For one, Lady Gaga proves more and more she isn’t just the new Madonna, but maybe something greater and secondly Bradley Cooper who goes all out in what is one of his best performances and also provides a stunning directoral debut that was nuanced and poised in the way it handled its subject matter and musical content.