Movie Review: A Star is Born (2018)
Another remake of the 1937 film, A Star is Born, finally made its way to theaters after receiving buzz from its premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. This rendition was the directorial debut for Bradley Cooper and was written by Cooper, Eric Roth, and Will Fetters. The film follows musician Jackson Maine as he falls in love with a promising new artist, Ally. Cooper also stars in the film as Maine, and Lady Gaga co-stars as singer-songwriter, Ally. The supporting cast also includes Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay, and Anthony Ramos. The film debuted to just under $43 million during its opening weekend.
The film begins with singer Jackson Maine opening his show. Maine is already heavily intoxicated, and after the show, it is revealed that he is experiencing issues with his ears. After the show, Maine goes in search of somewhere to find a drink and inadvertently finds himself at a drag bar. One of the patrons asks him to stay to hear his friend perform. This friend is Ally, a young singer-songwriter who moonlights at the drag bar. Whenever Jackson hears her sing, he is instantly drawn to her. They spend the majority of the night together around town, where Jackson witnesses Ally’s singing and songwriting abilities. The story progresses as Jackson convinces her to sing alongside him at a concert and inevitably gives a start to her career.
While this might be the fourth rendition of this story, I thought that it was excellently done. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were the perfect duo to headline the film, and their chemistry is part of what makes the movie so enjoyable. The love story of their characters was sweet, moving, and believable throughout the entire movie. The film takes it beyond a traditional love story, though, and also provides a lot of depth with the subjects of substance abuse and the demands of the industry carefully woven into the story. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper obviously steal the show, but the supporting cast was also stellar with Sam Elliott clearly being a standout performance as Cooper’s significantly older brother.
When evaluating the movie, the original music for the film might be as much of a star as Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Not only are the songs catchy and meaningful, but the songs help tell the story of these two characters. The emotion and story behind the lyrics enhance the entire storytelling experience and even demonstrates whenever one of them is struggling or losing their way. The music is a powerful force, and Cooper and Lady Gaga hit every note beautifully. Obviously, the world already knows that Lady Gaga has an amazing voice, but she really gets to show off her emotional range as well as her vocal range in this role. Likewise, Cooper amazed me throughout the film with the emotion he brought to this character and the soulful quality that exists in his singing. Whenever the two of them are on stage together, you cannot help but be drawn into the story they are telling.
Overall, I think that A Star is Born is an excellent movie with a lot of heart. Like every film, it has its shortcomings. Whenever Elliot and Cooper are on screen together, they can be difficult to hear with their incredibly deep voices. The story also drags some in the middle, although I would say that this is still a solid directorial debut for Cooper. This story has it all from a whimsical romance to the perils of addiction to the tale of an underdog finally breaking through their barriers. It is an emotional film and sometimes difficult to watch, but I would highly recommend seeing A Star is Born in theaters. I would also recommend enjoying all of the original music, which we have consistently been listening to on Apple Music for the past six days.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.