A Star is Born.
This movie was a bit of an x-factor for me. I wasn’t sure if it’d be incredible or if it would tank. It features Bradley Cooper not only as a singer but he’s also behind the camera for the first time, both of which could have gone sideways fairly quickly. On the opposite side, we have Lady Gaga who is undoubtedly an incredible singer but can she act? Let’s see!
Established rock legend Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is spiraling out of control, dependent on drugs and alcohol to get him through. His life is changed when he sees Ally (Lady Gaga) perform and he starts to carry her to stardom. We also have Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, and Sam Elliott as Jackson’s older brother and often caretaker.
Let me tell you up front, this movie is phenomenal, for a lot of reasons.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga carry this entire film and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Oscar nominations for both of them. Cooper was the stronger performer of the two, as Jackson’s life spirals out of control, but they both do incredible work here. They also deliver some truly beautiful music. I would wait to listen to the soundtrack til after you see the movie, the songs carry much more weight with context.
Behind the camera, Cooper also does some incredible work. This movie is cinematic and intimate, not shying away from extreme closeups and long shots of silence. He manages to milk every emotional moment for everything it’s worth. We may be surprised and see a Best Director nomination for him as well.
As a story, this is a rollercoaster. You’ll laugh, you’ll feel inspired, you’ll feel hopeless, and you’ll feel absolute heartbreak. It’s all perfect though, as the journey we’re taken on is paced just right. The movie’s a tad long, nearly 2.5 hours, but in the end, it was all necessary.
This all works because of what Cooper and Lady Gaga have delivered. This feels like an authentic relationship. Their interactions and conversations feel real, their chemistry absolutely convinces you that you’re watching real life unfold.
I can’t say enough good things about this movie. If there’s justice, you’ll be hearing more and more about this film leading up to the Academy Awards.
What doesn’t work?
My only complaint is the long runtime. It can drag a bit in the last third but I was thankful for those moments when the credits rolled.
A Star is Born is going to undoubtedly be one of my favorite films of 2018. It features an incredibly emotional story with powerhouse performances. The soundtrack is beautiful, the movie shot perfectly, and altogether we’re given something very special here.