If you had told me a few years ago that I would cry at a movie starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, I would have laughed, but with “A Star Is Born,” the two A-listers have done something that’s nothing short of iconic in Cooper’s directorial debut.
This is the third remake of the 1937 original, with past versions starring Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. Creating the same film for the fourth time's a risky move, even by mainstream Hollywood’s standards. Luckily, Bradley Cooper does it perfectly, resulting in a film that will be talked about for decades.
Bradley Cooper directs himself in the lead role as Jackson Maine, a drug-addicted alcoholic who happens to be a famous musician. Despite his career success, Maine’s life is haunted by his addictions and troubled past. It comes as no surprise that our male protagonist meets a woman who changes his life.
It sounds like a familiar tune (no pun intended), yet what Cooper does is different. Casting the world-famous Lady Gaga as Maine’s partner Ally — a struggling waitress who’s looking for a breakthrough into the music business — the two characters share a passionate relationship that transforms both of them musically and spiritually.
Few first-time directors are as successful as Bradley Cooper. Within the first five minutes of the film, we’re easily aware that this talented actor has a gifted eye for storytelling and the craft of filmmaking. The only issue with this talent is that it’s easy to miss due to Cooper’s magnificent performance.
To that end, few actors are capable of captivating audiences with such an authentic and rich character portrayal as Cooper does in “A Star Is Born.” He presents an emotionally traumatized man and gives us a raw, natural look at the human condition, along with the desire for belonging and change.
Cooper’s performance is especially terrific due to his chemistry with Gaga. The two actors complement each other beautifully, their characters and performances growing with the audience in a nuanced and artful fashion.
Gaga sings better than ever in this film, most notably on “Shallow,” a duet with Cooper which became a popular song before the movie was even released. It’s hands-down one of cinema’s best original songs to date.
Gaga’s musical talent is contagious. Her powerful voice and unscathed emotions while performing are what stars are made of. However, her acting might be even better than her singing. Few actors can act so naturally and impact the audience in such an effective way as Gaga does here — expect the artist to be in more films as a serious actor.
The singing and acting are terrific, yet what hits home the hardest is the fresh and powerful story. Few films allow us as viewers to care so much and relate to people who — even though they might be famous musicians — we can identify with and root for to overcome their obstacles. Stories in general are there for us to connect with, which is what this film excels at marvelously. It’s an unexpected gem that is simply not to be missed.