Minor spoilers ahead…
A Star Is Born (2018) is the directorial debut for actor, Bradley Cooper, and also features Lady Gaga’s best on screen performance to date. The film was certainly a lot more emotionally engaging than expected.
A recreation of the original film in 1937 directed by William A. Wellman and Jack Conway, which won one Oscar and nominated six other times.
The story line is based around a young star named Ally, played by Lady Gaga, performing in a drag bar. When she gets discovered by a drunk star named Jackson Maine, played by Bradley Cooper, whilst he was searching for a place in the city that serves alcohol. Just as she starts to give up on her dreams of becoming a singer, Jack motivates her and gives her what she needs to be successful. As her career takes off, their relationship starts to take a toll as Jack fights against his addictions.
The film was engaging from all aspects, especially in the way the character’s were portrayed. Ally (Lady Gaga) for her embarrassment and love for her partner Jack, whilst also feeling empathy for him as he fights against his demons. As the viewer starts to have hope, something breaks him down again. Gaga and Cooper showcase real masterclass performances throughout.
From an outside perspective of the relationship, you could really understand how much it hurt Jack to see Ally change into someone that she wasn’t. Everything he loved about her, the record label was trying to change. There was always a hint to show that Jack knew her best. When performing her song in the recording studio, she was struggling, but Jack knew that she needed to play the song on the piano as she sung it.
There were many scenes that made the audience gasp with air or sniffle with tears. The one case that wasn’t with tears (unless it was happy tears) was after moving in together, Ally and Jack got a dog, a Goldendoodle puppy to be exact. I’ve never heard so many people in a cinema gasp so loudly over a dog, but it was understandable. The scenes involving the dog were definitely a huge feature throughout the film, example being when Ally was playing the piano with the backdrop of Jack playing with the dog, Charlie, in the garden. Charlie was played by Bradley Cooper’s actual dog in real life, making it that much more special.
The soundtrack was astonishing, with Gaga’s powerful vocals and songwriting skills. Cooper was able to pull out such a great voice we didn’t know he had, I overheard a lot of people in the cinema asking each other “is it really him singing”, “oh wow”. Gaga stated that she really pushed to do all the performances live because she hated watching movies when they would sing and the lip syncing wouldn’t line up correctly, and with there being one way to prevent this perfectly they decided to sing live.
The cinematography was well shot throughout the film, especially during the scenes they performed on stages at the festivals. I don’t think they could cast the movie with any better performers. With Bradley playing the role so well as he plays that drunk and drug abused character so well. It was incredible how he could even fulfill the vocals for the music and even the guitar playing which he spent over a year learning, just so he could adapt to play the role of a musician accurately. Lady Gaga shocked the system with her acting, for someone with so little experience in acting on the big screen, she couldn’t have pulled it off any better.
Overall, the film was phenomenal, from the songwriting, cast, cinematography and directing. It’s bound to win awards at the Oscars. The movie isn’t destined to be everyone type of film, with it being emotionally engaging, featuring many songs. But if you love Drama, music, and sad-story’s about people suffering from addiction then it is a must see.
The only improvement that could have been made is by having Charlie, the dog, more involved in certain scenes such as comforting Ally towards the end.
By Connor Taylor-Parton
Images and video by Warner Brothers