A Star Is Born (2018) Starring Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott.

©Warner Bros
©Warner Bros

Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is a huge rock star in his own right when the film begins, swigging on liquor and popping pills before he takes the stage in front of thousands of adoring fans. But something is missing, he is lost in the fame bubble and he is losing his identity. 

After his set, he demands his driver to take him to the nearest bar where he sees the enigmatic Ally (Lady Gaga). She is singing “La Vie en Rose” complete with black stick on eyebrows at a local drag club where they let her take up the stage once a week. Jackson instantly falls in love with her voice, and with her jaw dropping performance. He tells Ally that she has something special. Their spark is undeniable.  Later that night, after a bust up at the bar (and a bag of frozen peas) Ally sings to Jackson one of her own songs and he becomes spellbound.

Ally works in a deadbeat job at a restaurant and when Jackson takes an interest she is jettisoned to another world. He brings her up on stage after much persuasion and hesitation from Ally, and just like that – their performance goes viral…..

Already surrounded with huge Oscar buzz, this film has become a huge talking point for music fans and cinemagoers alike. The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is electric. Gaga, who has already been nominated for a Golden Globe in the past for American Horror Story is almost unrecognisable as Ally with mousy brown hair, and a humble outlook – not a meat dress in sight. Cooper too, is pushing boundaries playing a troubled rock god, with his voice at a low, whiskey filled level, a new turn from his comedy shtick past. He learnt how to sing for 6 months before the film began and as we know – Gaga already has a pretty good set of pipes.

The music is fantastic – you will be singing the songs for days after, particular ‘Shallow’ a beautiful duet that will surely give you goose bumps when you hear the first few lines. As the film progresses, we see Ally’s star rise, Jackson fears that her integrity is being comprised as she becomes what he sees as a manufactured pop act, and his fame takes a back seat. Resentment kicks in, and from then the fame machine spirals.

A Star is Born is a directorial debut from Cooper, as well as starring in it, he co wrote some of the songs with Gaga and Willie Nelson’s son Lukas, who’s band play in the film aswell. The film is crafted with a clear passion being given from all involved, which makes it feel so honest, and so raw. Cooper took over this project after Clint Eastwood decided not to direct it back in 2011(Eastwood was eyeing up Beyonce for the role). Sam Elliott is also fantastic as Bobby,Jackson Maine’s long suffering brother and tour manager, a fight scene between the pair is particularly moving.

This film is important for many reasons, it may have some cliché’s after all – it is a remake of 3 previous films, but it is beautifully put together and acted with sheer passion in a believable love story – reflecting on fame, relationships and addiction. It bravely tackles tough subjects, most particularly that of mental health. There are a few issues with the film – time sometimes passes quicker than you can keep up with, and sometimes the focus goes onto Jackson more so, leaving Ally’s story with some gaps in it.

Overall, this is a fantastic modern love story that deserves the hype it has been getting. The music is spectacular and honest. The craft and commitment to this film paid off in spades, in a world of throwaway Nicholas Spark’s ‘rom coms’ this feels like the real. Bravo Bradley Cooper, your potential Oscar is fully deserved.

9/10

 

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