All year I’ve been hearing about how good the trailer for A Star Is Born was and all the early praise for just the movie trailer made me want to avoid seeing this and I’m a huge Lady GaGa fan. However, I don’t like walking into a movie with any preconceived notions, a film like this that has been praised to the high heavens before it was even officially screened. I believe nearly every version of this film has gotten award season love and the latest installment will be no exception. The story is timeless.
Actor, Director Bradley Cooper picked the perfect project for his Directorial debut. A Star Is Born is a wish fulfillment style story with all the pitfalls and drama that comes with getting everything your heart desires. Who wouldn’t want a famous musician like Jack (Bradley Cooper) to ride into town, sweep you off your feet and take you to Neverland?
Problem is Ally’s (Lady Gaga) knight in shining armor is seriously flawed and that flaw is readily apparent the first night they meet. Jack is the worst type of alcoholic, ok, not the worst type that would be the hitting kind, no Jack is a fall down, depressed sloppy drunk. When Ally and Jack first meet she knows he’s a drunk but ignores the immediate warning signs because he’s also very charming and clearly infatuated with her from the moment he hears her sing.
From there we see their relationship build and because Jack’s character never changes throughout the course of the film you can see within the first 20 minutes that this probably won’t have an happy ending and normally I don’t like that, but Cooper and the writings throw enough in here to make you forget it and think yeah he’s an alcoholic who doesn’t even try to change but somehow it’ll work out in the end.
This is the first movie I’ve seen where I truly loved Cooper’s performance. He’s always had that swarthy swagger about him, but I don’t think I’ve ever been a fan of anything he’s done until this movie. He shows off his dramatic chops here and his singing is actually on point and his performance is helped by the fact that he picked the perfect person to play opposite him.
Lady Gaga truly inhabits this role and why not its basically her life’s story. I don’t know about the discovered by a famous musician part, but she struggled for years before she finally made it to the big time and this being her first major film role is how you kick off a movie career. GaGa makes Ally pop by not using her standard over the top theatrical tricks.
I’ve always said people underestimate GaGa’s talent, but after this movie that will not happen again. Her voice is powerful, strong, yet there’s a vulnerability there that shines whenever she’s performing in the beautifully staged concert scenes and in the quieter moments when she’s trying to deal with Jack’s many issues.
On the one hand, I kept wondering why she was in this toxic relationship, on the other you can clearly see the love these two have for one another. This movie is a great treatise on the idea of how easily one can fall into a co-dependence trap.
Where this film truly shines, especially if you see this a large format theater like an AMC Dolby Theater is all the music scenes pop. They put you right in the moment and make you feel every heartache in every note played, every lyric sung, there’s a gravitas and a sense of love and care that went into the staging of every frame of this movie. What Bohemian Rhapsody lacked, this movie has in spades.
From start to finish the movie is nearly flawless and is one of my favorites of the year, my only quibble is I thought the downbeat ending was completely unnecessary and wished they went in a different direction. But darn it they got me, I cried like a baby.
Final Grade A