A Star Is Born Movie Review

October 22, 2018 By Southpoint Tuggeranong

Over 80 years after the original, and 40 years since Barbra Streisand’s remake, Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born delves once again into the perceptions of stardom and the pitfalls of fame.

Cooper, who co-wrote the script and directs the film, also plays ageing rocker Jackson Maine. He’s half-deaf, battling substance abuse and doing a spectacular job of sabotaging his own career, when he sets his eyes on Ally (Lady Gaga), giving a Moulin Rouge worthy performance of La Vie En Rose in a drag bar.

A talented songwriter who refuses to sing her own songs, Ally has practically given up pursuing a career as a musician because she’s been told time and time again, she doesn’t have “the look”. And true, it does take a while to get used to Gaga’s makeup-less, ordinary look - but the moment she opens her mouth to belt out a tune you are captivated. (By the way Cooper looks at her, you can tell he’s captivated too.)

Jack falls head over heels with Ally, while Ally is just trying to figure out what kind of crazy situation she’s found herself in: sitting in a car park in the early hours of the morning, frozen peas bandaged to her hand after punching a random guy in a bar, shaping one of the most spectacular songs of the entire film, Shallow. It’s this soaring duet that Jack can’t get out of his head, and which prompts him to fly Ally to his next concert and coaxes her out into the spotlight beside him.

When Ally’s career takes off, their relationship struggles to keep up with the momentum in which Ally finds herself projected to stardom. But while one star begins to shine, another starts to fade. Unable to deal with the change in her, Jack gives in to his demons and circles the drain of self-destruction.

The characters interact with one another clumsily; sometimes backtracking over their words or speaking over the top of one another, as though Cooper just set a camera on them and let them work it out for themselves. In that respect, there’s a very realistic feel to their performances.

Ally is instantly likeable; she’s upfront and opinionated, yet there’s a fragile vulnerability to her. The film touches on a frustration about women in the media, being who they’re told to be and not who they are. This seems to be a situation that Gaga is all too familiar with.

Both Cooper and Gaga give exceptional performances, and while Cooper very convincingly portrays a troubled man, it’s really Gaga that steals the spotlight. I think it’s safe to say, we’ll always remember her this way. A Star Is Born shines a light on the tragic side of fame that sadly, not even love can save.

  - Laura White

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