Early this month, Bradley Cooper made his directorial debut, and my only complaint is that it didn’t happen sooner. His remake of A Star is Born hit all the right notes and tells a very slow moving but powerful tale of one musician’s rise to stardom, and anothers fall from it. While known for mostly comedies, Bradley Cooper gives an incredible dramatic performance as Jackson Maine, a bonafide rock star suffering from addiction and his own inner demons. He meets Lady Gaga’s Allie, a blue collar waitress with dreams of stardom and the voice and musical skills to warrant it. They enter a budding romance, and we watch firsthand the intertwinement of their new, complicated lives. And this romance really is the heart of the film. The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is phenomenal, and is a testament to both actors abilities. The movie is their story, so it is fitting it would be focused on their interaction. And needless to say it hooks you early on and quickly gets you emotionally invested. With that in mind, no spoilers, but the third act is a real tear jerker; be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions as you face the challenges of stardom with these characters. On the brighter side, comedians Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle in two of the film’s supporting rules offer a much needed break from the very real struggles of our titular couple. Light hearted comedic banter is sprinkled throughout, and while in the movie briefly, the actors play very important and influential roles. Moving back to our couple, the dynamic between Gaga and Cooper as artists and mutual respect for each other really helps the final product shine. As Lady Gaga said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, “we had a true exchange. He accepted me as an actress, and I accepted him as a musician.” While Gaga has had acting experience, this is her first major film role and she truly knocked it out of the park. She so well portrays the insecurities and nuances of an up and coming star, and we see her change and grow as the film goes on. We see the same in Cooper who also co-wrote the film’s soundtrack with Gaga. Showing the full range of his abilities, Bradley Cooper sings in numerous performance scene and does a breathtaking job. The soundtrack has everything you could want – from an electronic pop song, to a rock country jam, and to several moving slow ballads most notably the trailer song “Shallow.” Cooper’s talents as an artist are on full display here as he has directed, written, starred in , and written the music for what might be the best movie of 2018. However, I will admit the film isn’t perfect. My one gripe was with the cinematography. There were a number of dialogue scenes, especially in the beginning, in which the camera zooms in on one character’s face, but the outline of another’s is still visible. It’s very unsettling and almost detracts from the actual meat of those few scenes. All in all A Star is Born is a bold retelling of a classic story of the love between in the painful backdrop of fame and fortune. Hooks you early on and keeps you entertained the entire way through, with admittedly a few bumps along the way. Still highly recommended though and between the music and the acting, I expect a lot of attention from the Academy this February.
My Rating: 8.75/10
Note: If you did see 2018’s A Star is Born, definitely check out the other 3 versions! The 1937 original, the 1954 version starring Judy Garland, and the 1976 rock musical starring Barbra Streisand.