Arguably one of the most anticipated and talked about movies of the year, this will be the third remake of A Star is Born. Yep this will be movie #4. The original was released way back in 1937 with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in the lead roles. The first remake was in 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason at the helm and it was remade again in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.
So I guess you want to know does this most recent offering live up to all the hype?
Does it ever!
Cooper, in his directorial debut, plays Jackson Maine, a rock/country singer who staggers through life in a haze of booze and prescription drugs. On top of this, he is losing his hearing and refuses to use earpieces during his shows as he feels it destroys his connection with his live audiences. His tinnitus wreaks havoc on his life and he self-medicates with the alcohol and drugs.
One night after a show, he stumbles into a drag bar looking for a drink. It is here he meets full time waiter/part time entertainer, Ally (Lady GaGa in her leading lady movie debut). The two share an instant connection and spend a long, eventful and extremely emotionally intimate night together.
You know the rest. Jaded, drunken, messed up rock star meets struggling, insecure but supremely talented ingénue. He encourages her to sing her own stuff, dragging her on stage during his show. Ally is an instant hit and it doesn’t take long for the industry to start sniffing around. Fast forward a few months, a year maybe, and Ally is a star in her own right.
Why should I watch it?
The chemistry between Cooper and Lady GaGa is intense and mesmerising as they navigate not only their personal relationship but their business one as well. Throw in copious amounts of drugs, alcohol, minders, fans, travel, music, money and a dog named Charlie and you have a relationship that threatens to detonate almost every other day yet manages to hang on because of one simple fact.
These two people are completely in love with each another.
The entire soundtrack was co-written and performed by Cooper and Lady GaGa, which adds even more depth to this timeless story. The musical performances, and there are a lot of them, serve as a timeline of sorts as we witness Ally morph from a simple, suburban girl with a framed image of Carole King’s Tapestry on her bedroom wall to a glamorous, highly choreographed, dancing, singing superstar. At one point, Jack warns her, almost prophetically, that if she does not remain true to herself, she will stumble. Wise words indeed.
Cooper is fantastic as the gruff, raspy voiced singer but it is GaGa who steals the show with her undeniable singing talent and her doe-eyed ambition.
This retelling of A Star is Born is raw, intense, moving and heartbreaking. I hope Cooper and Lady Gaga enjoy their Oscars next year.
A Star is Born
4 1/2 stars
Running Time: 136 minutes
Release Date: Opens today
Who is in it: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Ron Rifkin, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos