A Star Is Born (2018)

star is born poster 2018 movie lady gaga bradley cooper
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Lady Gaga really feels real, good looking, good cast

Problematic ending

Movie Info

Movie Name:  A Star Is Born

Studio:  Warner Bros.

Genre(s):  Drama/Romance/Musical

Release Date(s): August 31, 2018 (Venice Film Festival)/October 5, 2018 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

star is born lady gaga shalllow bradley cooper

Get singing!

Popular country singer Jackson “Jack” Maine (Bradley Cooper) is struggling. He has a drinking problem, his tinnitus is leading to hearing loss, and his manager half-brother Bobby (Sam Elliott) is starting to find not even he can control him. When Jack meets a part-time performer named Ally Campana (Lady Gaga), he recognizes her talent and forces her to take a chance. Now, Ally is on the fast track to stardom, and Jack thinks she’s losing her edge as he falls further and further into his own despair.

Directed by Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born is the fourth version of the story that was originally brought to film in 1937. The musical-drama was released to critical acclaim and a massive box office return. It received an Academy Awards for Best Original Song (“Shallow”) with nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Actress (Lady Gaga), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Elliott), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound Mixing.

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I built you up!

I haven’t seen any other versions of A Star Is Born. The idea behind the movie is rather basic. You have one star on the rise and one falling…leading to paths crossing. The trick of the movie is to see how they interact and if the interaction is toxic or turns into something magical…or both as in this case. A ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the film.

The film is very heavily actor based. You have to have actors who play convincing musicians or vice-versa. Lady Gaga really gives it all in the movie and comes off as completely likeable and completely normal. She has a real honesty to her that comes off the screen. Cooper is also good, though it doesn’t feel as natural for him (Sam Elliott’s great character claims “Jack” stole his voice and it really does feel like he’s doing an imitation of Elliott). The movie also had surprising supporting roles by Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle.

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Seriously…you stole my voice…quit imitating me!!!

The movie also looks very good. Concerts are both fun and a nightmare to shoot. It often means either multiple takes of one song or multiple cameras trying to catch all the moments. The singing portions of the movie are pieced together well, and they are married to some great performances by the cast.

The struggle comes with the story and in particular the ending for me. While overall, I liked the film I took issue with Jack’s ultimate decision is to take his own life to “spare” Ally. There is a cast-off line that it “isn’t your fault” to Lady Gaga though in the public eye, Jack’s fans, and her own mind, she will always have doubts. It is followed by a song to show she’s made it back…the end. It feels like a cop-out by both the character of Jack but also the writing which doesn’t seem to deal with it well. With so much going into the development of Jack and Ally’s relationship, the quick little coda seems like it should have been expanded and explored.

star is born bradley cooper wets himself lady gaga grammys

I kind of wish Bradley Cooper would continue to interrupt every win by Lady Gaga by doing this…

A Star Is Born ends problematic, but in general, it is strong. The film also fails to address the elephant in the room that Ally is selling out, and it isn’t clear if she has seen the errors of her ways in the end. The story oddly parallel Lady Gaga a bit in that the classically trained musician did use a lot of attention getting antics when she was coming up when she maybe could have survived on her talent…something she has since started to do more. The story of A Star Is Born might be over, but I would actually like to see what happens to Ally in ten, fifteen, or twenty years…and I might welcome that sequel.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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