This film had five Golden Globe nominations: for Best Drama, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Original Song (it won this last), and has the same nominations for BAFTAs. It is likely to do well in the Oscars too. It is one of the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw’s top ten films of 2018 and is, of course, a remake of a remake and, in fact, there have been three previous versions of the story, over a period of eighty years. In his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper manages to effortlessly take a love story last told in the 1970s and bring it into the current day with the perfect combination of wit, raw emotion, and transcendent music.
Cooper and Lady Gaga fuse their considerable talents to depict the raw and passionate tale of Jack and Ally, two artistic souls coming together, on stage and in life. Theirs is a complex journey through the beauty and the heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive. In this new take on the iconic love story, four-time Oscar nominee Cooper (American Sniper, American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook), makes his directorial debut, and also stars alongside multiple award-winning, Oscar-nominated music superstar Gaga in her first leading role in a major motion picture. Cooper portrays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers and falls in love with struggling artist Ally. She has given up on her dream to become a successful singer, until she meets Jack, who immediately sees her natural talent.
When Jackson and Ally meet, Ally is performing “La Vie en Rose” (a go-to cover for Gaga in recent years), and Jackson is instantly struck by her vocal talent and beauty. The scene, while not in slow motion, feels as though it is, with close up shots of Ally expertly manoeuvering her way around the crowded bar. It’s one of the best scenes of the entire film, solidifying that Gaga was the perfect choice for the role, and that Cooper is more than just an amateur director. After their initial meeting and instant chemistry, the scenes that follow show the twists and turns of their passionate, tumultuous relationship and Ally’s rise to fame as a singer/songwriter—all while depicting how Jackson copes with their new life and his worsening addictions.
Lady Gaga brilliantly tackles the part of insecure Ally as her first big-screen role—confirming her status as an all-around superstar. Cooper gives one of the best performances of his career, expertly portraying a struggling addict, and his intense character is well-balanced by Gaga’s endearing Ally. While Cooper’s delivery is first-rate, so is his directing, which features mostly close-up, intimate shots that make the audience feel personally connected to the story he tells.
A Star Is Born hits the viewer all at once, leaving you feeling emotionally drained in the best possible way. It’s heartfelt, well-paced, and gut-wrenchingly tragic, with the gorgeous music and two main characters taking centre stage by grabbing hold of the audience’s emotion until the very last second. Even those who aren’t prone to getting emotional will find this one hard to let go of long after the story is done.
Click below for reviews and more information.
Venue: William Loveless Hall