Review: A Star is Born
A Star Is Born isn’t offering anything new. It’s the third remake of a 1937 film, and there is no shortage of similar stories about a romance between a young performer on the rise and a grizzled showbiz veteran. It’s a story Hollywood likes to tell, but Bradley Cooper (pulling triple duty as director, lead actor and co-writer) creates an engaging experience that draws you in despite the well-worn material.
The film’s success is largely thanks to the chemistry between Cooper and co-star Lady Gaga. The first act is essentially an extended meeting between folky rock star Jackson Maine (Cooper) and unknown singer-songwriter Ally (Gaga). There’s an ease to these scenes. He’s world-weary but still passionate; she’s hungry but insecure. With a mumbling drawl and easy charm, there’s a warmth to Jackson that pairs nicely with the prickly fragility Gaga gives Ally. It’s easy to see why these two would fall into each other.
Even without knowledge of the previous incarnations, it’s clear where A Star Is Born is going from the beginning. Jackson draws Ally into the spotlight, and while she thrives, his demons (alcohol, drugs and worsening hearing loss) threaten to overtake him. The plot leaves Cooper with the bulk of the dramatic heavy lifting, which he handles deftly, making the almost caricaturistic Jackson feel like a lived-in character. But it’s Gaga who walks away with the most impactful moment. At one of his concerts, Jackson draws a reluctant Ally onto stage with him. Her performance slowly builds, culminating in a triumphant, goosebump-inducing wail, and well, the title says it all.
Should you see it? Yes, it’s melodramatic and predictable but very enjoyable. — S.W.
Viewed at Marcus Galaxy Chesterfield