American country singer Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) wows concert crowds. However inside the loneliness of his private limousine, he is a man consumed by alcohol and drugs. Searching for a nearby drinking spot, he finds himself in a downtown drag bar where Ally (Lady Gaga) is about to take the stage. Performing her own take on ‘la vie en rose’ she floors both him and the assembled crowd. Brimming with undiscovered talent, Jackson is infatuated by Ally. Inviting her into his world of sold-out concert tours and huge, adoring audiences, this seems to be everything she could have ever wanted. However, fame comes at a price.
…Bradley Cooper delivers a movie that is both high on drama and entertainment.
In his feature film debut actor / director Bradley Cooper delivers a movie that is both high on drama and entertainment. With its casting of well-known singer Lady Gaga, the songs are wonderfully performed and Cooper himself proves to be a convincing voice behind the microphone. With his character’s laid-back, Arizonan charm, Cooper’s Jackson Maine strikes an attractive balance between innocence and wonder. Nowhere does this more prove to be the case than in his scenes with Sam Elliot as his older brother Bobby. One shown as the grizzled reflection of the other, their co-dependant relationship provides most of the sparks and insights into Jackson’s real character. Between these two established actors, Lady Gaga impressively holds her own, proving herself to easily be the boy’s equal with her down-to-earth portrayal of Ally. Juggling her waitressing whilst mothering her stars-in-his-eyes father, Gaga’s self-doubting ugly duckling arc feels very palpable if not wholly realistic.
Like its previous versions, this ‘A Star Is Born’ remake is a jaded fairytale, warning about the dangers of getting what you want. After a strong opening followed by the inevitable distorting effects of fame, the surprises start to dip towards the end. Robbed of its third act shock by an overly-telegraphed ending, Cooper’s remake ultimately finishes in second place to the 1974 version and Kris Kristoffersen’s speeding Ferrari.
As with the aforementioned remake, the vocals and talents of Barbara Streisand / Lady Gaga were and are crucial to your belief in the central theme. Thankfully both the singers then and now are up to the task, and this latest remake will also have you crying when you need to.