When I first saw the trailer for A Star Is Born, I was mildly intrigued. I just chocked it up as being a prestige movie trying to make a popular singer, Lady Gaga, an actress with goals of possibly winning her an Academy Award. But after watching the movie, my judgement was misplaced.
A Star Is Born is a remake of the 1937 film starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, which was remade twice with the 1954 adaptation starring Judy Garland and James Mason and the 1976 adaptation starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. Following that strong lineage, Bradley Cooper’s remake makes the most of the tragic story and delivers a resounding drama from wire to wire.
Early on we are introduced to Jackson Maine (Cooper), a country music mega star who is battling alcohol and drug addictions. On one of his late night runs into a dive bar, he catches a performance by Ally (Lady Gaga), a singer-songwriter belting out a rendition of “Le Vie en Rose.”
Blown away by her talent, Maine befriends Ally, sparking a heart wrenching tale of love, loss and everything in between.
As Ally’s star rises, Maine continues to struggle with his private addictions, which reaches its climax in the devastating moment where he passes out on stage as Ally wins the Grammy for Best New Artist. From here, things only get worst.
Though Cooper is getting acclaim for his directorial debut, his acting steals the show as his tour de force performance as Maine carries the film. That’s not to say Gaga doesn’t deliver an impressive performance of her own, but this is Cooper’s movie.
Flanking the impressive performances by Cooper and Gaga is Sam Elliott’s role as Jackson’s brother, Bobby Maine, and Andrew Dice Clay’s role as Ally’s father, Lorenzo Campana. Each provide avenues to better understand the main characters. Sam is concerned that his brother is on the fast track to death while Lorenzo is terrible at supporting Ally before turning into her biggest supporter.
Mixed in within the impressive acting is an impressive soundtrack that’s anchored by two showstopping tunes: “Maybe It’s Time,” a solo performance by Cooper that sorrowfully foreshadows his fate and “Shallow,” a duet by Cooper and Gaga that steals the show.
A Star Is Born went on to become a big hit at the box office and with critics, scoring an impressive 90-percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, it’s the early frontrunner to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
- Release date: October 5, 2018
- Box office: $382 million
- Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
- Director: Bradley Cooper
- Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay
- Buy: Still in theaters