FILM REVIEW: A STAR IS BORN
BY KYLE ARANGO
Remakes have been something that Hollywood has been playing with for decades. Some are great and surpass the original, others are terrible that come off as completely pointless. Here we have an actor stepping into the directing chair for the first time in Bradley Cooper and he is tackling A Star is Born. Can A Star is Born be a great remake that does something different to make it stand out from what it is remaking? Absolutely! This film is a pretty great journey and minus a few flaws, is one of the best of the year.
Any fans of film have heard of the title A Star is Born at some point. This is now the fourth time this film has been made and is aiming to be the one for a new generation. The story follows a famous musician named Jackson Maine who is successful but suffers from addictions to alcohol and drugs. He meets a singer in a bar named Ally and decides to take her with him on tour. Talents then collide as their journey gets more complicated from there. This story is compelling from the beginning. We meet these characters and automatically want both of them to succeed but, know the journey cannot be easy. We watch them meet and fall in love where there are always obstacles. What is great about this story is that it never lets up. You constantly are anxious to see where the story goes next and if any surprises shall arise. The first half is strong and had me feeling a way I had not felt in a while this year in a movie. Unfortunately, the second half is just slightly below in terms of quality. The pacing starts to pay off and the film feels like it needs to be trimmed just a touch. Don’t take this as it being a disappointment, the first half is just so amazing that it was tough for anything to match it.
What makes A Star is Born work as well as it does is Bradley Cooper. Not only is he the star but he is also directing it. It also happens to be his directorial debut. Happy to report that he knocks it out of the park here in all aspects and turned in a film that audiences are going to love as much as he does. He learned to play a guitar and sing for this film which it pays off. Bradley Cooper held his own with Lady Gaga. You can feel the passion for the project that Cooper has radiate onto the screen and it is infectious. His acting is also terrific. His portrayal as an addict incredibly effective. Based on his characteristics you can kind of see where the story is going but you hope that it doesn’t because you want the character to overcome his struggles. That is a testament to how strong Bradley Cooper was. You can akin his performance to Denzel Washington’s in Flight who also suffered from addiction. Cooper does as well, if not better. You can expect an acting and hopefully a directing nomination for Cooper this fall.
The rest of the cast for A Star is Born is also just fantastic. Lady Gaga is Cooper’s co-lead in the film and gives a powerful performance. You are rooting for her to make it the entire time. You can feel her drive to become famous because Gaga portrays it like she has actually been through it. I do not know her personal story but would not be surprised if it was similar to her character Ally. This may be the greatest performance a singer turned actor has ever given and I cannot see anyone else in the role. She is more of a lock for awards then Cooper is honestly. Also, there is the wonderful Sam Elliott who plays Bradley Cooper’s older brother. There are very few actors that have an impact without having to say much and Sam Elliott is one of them. He just wants to help his brother recover and be happy and their relationship will tear you apart. The acting all around is topnotch and amazing.
One last thing that deserves a mention is the original music made for A Star is Born. The music is the passion that the two leads share and had it been bad it would’ve tanked the movie. Fortunately, it was beautiful and every song had a feeling to it. The song “Shallow” is one you will be hearing throughout awards season and if it doesn’t make you emotional then I don’t know what to say to you. In addition to that you get a mix of rock, country, and pop music that all blend in nicely with the story.
A Star is Born is one of the best movies of the year and had it not been for a few very minor flaws, would easily be the greatest. Its blend of music, drama, and emotion is powerful and is carried by the acting from Cooper, Gaga, and Elliot. Bradley Cooper hit the ground running with his first ever directing gig and I cannot wait to see what he does next because I will be there for it opening day. This film will easily sweep the Golden Globes Comedy/Musical category and will be a major contender at this year’s Oscars.