Title – A Star is Born (2018)
Director – Bradley Cooper (feature debut)
Cast – Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliot, Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay
Plot – Alcoholic and troubled singer Jackson Maine (Cooper) finds hope and love in the form of talented but down on her luck singer/song writer Ally (Gaga) who he encourages to live her dreams and share her talent with the world.
“Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die”
Review by Eddie on 19/10/2018
It’s some form of career trajectory, from love interest in Alias, bit player in Wedding Crashers, lead in The Hangover, to multi-Oscar nominated actor turned likely to be nominated director of a critical and box-office darling, all-round talent Bradley Cooper has officially announced himself as a powerful Hollywood player with his energetic, engaging and emotionally strong remake A Star is Born.
The fourth time this story has been told on the big screen, A Star is Born unquestionably walks a familiar beat of star-crossed lovers and underdogs aiming to reach the stars, but thanks to Cooper’s impressively driven direction and warts and all performance as alcoholic country music rock star Jackson Maine, that combines wonderfully with a star making turn from Lady Gaga, this stylishly produced feature film becomes something more than its seemingly simplistic set-up would suggest.
At one time this remake was almost a Clint Eastwood directed, Beyoncé starring affair and while the results of that collaboration would’ve been intriguing to say the least, thanks to Cooper and Gaga’s undeniable chemistry, the eye catching working of D.O.P Matthew Libatique and the quick firing editing of editor Jay Cassidy, Star draws the audience into Maine’s whirlwind world that is upturned by his chance encounter with Gaga’s down on her luck waitress and wannabe singer Ally and never lets us go.
The film allows for Cooper and Gaga to both deliver awards worthy turns, with both performers shining in a love story that’s far more dark and confronting than many will be expecting, with the films initial pizazz and wonder giving way to more of a drawn back and emotionally raw heavy-hitting scenes, as the nature of Maine’s condition begins to take its brutal toll.
It many ways this is Cooper’s film but its Gaga that will be remembered most here.
Her role as Ally no doubt allowed the talented and often misunderstood superstar to tap into her own experience’s in the music industry and her turn feels like one constructed around a real understanding of what it means to break into the celebrity scene whilst remaining true to oneself.
It’s a vulnerable and often unglamorous turn, yet one that allows for a number of show stopping scenes where you’ll be blown away by the power of Gaga’s stage presence, an early duet with Cooper is one of the year’s most spine tingling, while a later showstopper with Gaga front and centre is memorising stuff.
Star will likely go down as one of the year’s most memorable double acts with the two leads as good as they are, made all the better by solid support from Hollywood veteran Sam Elliot as Jackson’s much older brother Bobby and memorable side plays by comedian Dave Chappelle as Jackson’s long-term friend George and Andrew Dice Clay as Ally’s loving father Lorenzo.
Final Say –
Telling a familiar story in a freshly polished way, this likely Oscar heavyweight is a drama with heart that also happens to feature a number of show stopping songs and two performers at the top of their game, with Lady Gaga announcing herself as a powerful new player of the Hollywood landscape.
4 bags of frozen peas out of 5