Dir; Bradley Cooper. Starring; Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliot. R. Color. 135 min.
If I am being completely honest, I was hoping this film would fail. I don’t like Bradley Cooper. I’m not a big Gaga fan. Plus it’s a remake of a mediocre Barbara Streisand movie from 1976. Why am I saying this? Because this film is completely honest in itself and to it’s audience. “A Star Is Born” is heartbreaking, inspirational, genuine, and whatever other adjective you want to throw at it.
Bradley Cooper plays Jackson Maine, one of the biggest country music stars in the world. Years of drug and alcohol abuse while touring around the country have aged him faster than he had probably planned. But when you’re good at something the way Maine is at performing, sometimes you can flip a switch and just perform. It’s the life stuff he’s not so great at.
After a packed house concert, Maine needs a drink and orders his driver (Greg Grunberg) to pull over at what looks like a bar. Indeed it is. It’s a drag bar, which is obviously off putting for your typical country musician. While downing his last cocktail in quick fashion, Maine hears the beautiful voice of Ally (Lady Gaga). Not a drag queen, Ally performs at the bar as a side gig to distract from her boring 9 to 5 job.
An inebriated Maine is infatuated by Ally’s performance and by Ally herself. She is equally amazed that this huge star has any interest in her. While she does go for a drink with him, Ally has to turn him down as far as going to bed (cover your ears kids, “Sex”) with him because she has to work in the morning. Maine does not give up. He sends his driver to pick Ally up and bring her to his concert that night.
She is brought to the side of the stage mid-performance. Jackson sees Ally and invites her up. Ally is naturally hesitant. Jackson then begins to sing the song that he heard her sing the night before. Out she comes and a beautiful duet takes place. The video of her goes viral and “A Star is Born”.
Despite her belittling father, Ally goes for it with Jackson. They fall in love along the way, and Ally’s fast track to stardom rises in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, Maine’s erratic behavior starts to catch up with him as he swirls down the black hole of being forgotten. The once happy couple begin to hate each other as one is on the come up while the other is falling down.
“A Star Is Born” is not the most original movie ever made. It is however one of the most genuine.
I’m not sure who deserves more credit, Cooper or Cinematographer Matthew Libatique, perhaps both equally, but the controlled combination of moving shots as well as perfectly designed still frames is top notch. There is not one shot I can remember that felt like they were trying to just cover the scene. There’s no big one off or expansive action take, but this movie is sneaky in just how well it is filmed.
The other piece that Bradley Cooper nails as a director is the relationship between him and Ally. It has layers. If you ever have been or know anybody who has been in a relationship with an alcoholic or drug addict, this is what that looks like. If you have ever been the “alpha dog”, man or woman, in a relationship, then the other one surpasses you and jealousy sets in, this is what that looks like. Animosity takes over on both accounts.
Lady Gaga is also very well cast. No, she is not the next Meryl Streep. But in this role, perfect. At times it feels like she’s not even acting it’s so natural.
There is so much passion to this movie. Everyone involved bought in. Yes it’s cliche. Most of the great movies are in some form or another. You get surprised sometimes with a movie you are convinced is going to suck. “A Star Is Born” surprised the hell out of me.
Suck Factor: 0out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)
Written by Byrd
The SUCK FACTOR, how it works. We have flipped the rating system upside down. If a film is classic, it gets a 0. Meaning that movie has 0 SUCKS. If a film is complete trash you must avoid at all costs, it gets a 7, meaning this movie really SUCKS!