A Star Is Born may seem like a familiar name. That’s because it’s been remade three times since the original’s release over 80 years ago. This, the fourth version of the classic tale, is the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper, who also stars alongside Lady Gaga in her own debut as a feature film lead. Therefore A Star Is Born has a lot to prove, and prove it does.
Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is an alcoholic rock star who has lost his spark. After a gig he stumbles upon a bar in which a singer called Ally (Lady Gaga) is performing. The two connect instantly and not long after start a relationship, both musically and romantically. Maine is inspired by Ally as he finds joy in his music once again. Meanwhile, Ally is finally being recognised for her obvious talent, although she might have to sell out to make it in the industry.
At its core, A Star Is Born is a love story that convinces because of how genuine the central relationship is. The charisma between Cooper and Gaga is impossible to feign, especially during their ‘first date’ in a parking lot. Their relationship is messy and often irritating, but painfully real. This authenticity is purely due to the actors performances, both of which deserve serious Academy Award attention come February.
The film’s music is phenomenal – the soundtrack is sure to be a bestseller, featuring both original songs and covers from Cooper and Gaga. The live performances in the film are even better, with real crowds helping to create immersion. The camera moves from the parking lot, through the backstage buzz before showing us the entire audience and finally cutting to a close up of the performer. It’s fantastic filmmaking, made all the more impressive being Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. He isn’t bad in front of the camera either. His portrayal of Maine and his drunken behaviour is heartbreaking, with one scene particularly excruciating to watch.
A Star Is Born impresses consistently. It’s funny, sad, romantic and full of music that we’ll probably never tire of hearing. The narrative may not be original but the film manages to be.
Image Credit: Movie DB.