This review does not contain spoilers.
When I first saw the preview trailer for A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper’s latest and highly-acclaimed drama, I was immediately hooked. This film was well done – I think that it will be one of 2018’s best, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
There are several surprising aspects that make this one worth the time. Mentioning everything done well with it would be impossible. Viewers will pick up on the chemistry between co-stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper pretty quickly; it’s clear that they worked incredibly hard at filling the roles of Ally, a talented and aspiring singer-songwriter, and Jackson Maine, the weathered and hard-living rock star. Taking on the role of the latter proved that Cooper is equally adept at directing as he is at acting (he didn’t do a bad job at singing either).
With that being said, it’s obvious that A Star Is Born owes most of its success to Lady Gaga’s contribution. While it’s lazy to use the cliche “she gave an incredibly convincing performance,” she did, and few actors or actress seem as authentic as she does here.
Pay attention to the moments when Jack and Ally first meet. Their initial interaction, too perfect to be realistic, still manages to make Ally and Jack human; this is what makes these characters so likable. Because of their intense sense of complexity in most scenes, the audience can feel empathy even in this movie’s darkest moments.
I feel like the quality of the film’s soundtrack is what defines the film as being as unique as it is despite itself. The fact that Jason Isbell wrote the song “Maybe It’s Time,” a personal favorite from the collection, is a large part of what drew me into the theater. It’s the best song you’ll hear in the movie, and I’m willing to argue with that controversial opinion. I’m well aware that the duet “Shallow” is receiving a considerable amount of attention; both Gaga and Cooper did a phenomenal job with it, and it’s an excellent-sounding performance. As the song becomes more popular, I’ll inevitably grow annoyed every time I hear it. It’s still a good song though.
While this film did many things right, it isn’t all praise worthy. A Star Is Born does have its fair share of drawbacks, but none of them are serious enough to make me dislike the film.
It does feel as if the movie could’ve been considerably shorter. Cooper obviously wants the audience to grow with Ally and Jack in their relationship, but the process should’ve been sold more quickly. Boredom set in as the plot reached it’s climax — plus, some of the scenes involving Ally’s solo career lacked taste. It could be an indirect way of revealing her music’s loss of depth at that specific moment in the story-line, but my aversion to modern pop made it a little painful.
A Star Is Born has been redone so many times that this release could’ve easily become mundane, and if you’ve seen any previous versions, that might be something you’re concerned about. Fortunately, there’s no reason to worry.