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Movie Review: A Star is Born (2018)

A look at Bradley Cooper's stunning, yet heartbreaking remake of the classic film.

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, and Dave Chappelle

October is a busy month for movie releases that are already receiving a lot of award season buzz, and Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star is Born was the perfect way to kick off the month. The 2018 film is the fourth remake of this musical romantic drama, and it received the highest ratings from critics among the versions, earning 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film follows Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a musician struggling with substance abuse, as he discovers and jumpstarts the career of Ally Campana (Lady Gaga), a nightclub singer/songwriter. Jackson and Ally fall for each other throughout their time together as they have to navigate the complicated, often messy entertainment industry. The film touches on alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide, and ultimately understanding how to balance love, a career, and societal pressures.

Bradley Cooper signed on as the director and star of this film in 2016 and production began in 2017 at Coachella. For a directorial debut, Cooper did a spectacular job. The film was paced extraordinarily well, allowing the audience to really grow attached to these characters and understand their emotions. Additionally, it’s always interesting to me when directors also star in their films. It can either go extremely well or extremely poor, but I think Cooper executed both of his roles perfectly. I look forward to seeing what other directorial opportunities this film opens up for him in the future. And could a best directing Oscar be on the horizon for him in the near future? Only time will tell.

It’s impossible to talk about the stunning performances of this film and not discuss Lady Gaga. Wow. I cannot imagine anyone else being cast for this role. Gaga brings the necessary edge to the role but perfectly embodies the confusion and chaotic experience of sudden fame. Although the film wants to highlight the chemistry between both characters, each of them shine on their own. Gaga is a powerhouse that is able to carry the emotional weight of the role while still belting out the words to the songs on stage. A Star is Born was extremely successful and powerful in my eyes because it showcased the versatility of Gaga and Cooper and even depicted sides of them we had not seen before.

This review would not be complete without mentioning the music throughout the movie. I knew going into this film that Gaga’s vocals would steal the show, but I was also pleasantly surprised by Cooper’s. He was able to deliver some raw, 70s country vibes that certainly added to the dynamic range of his talent. Since seeing the movie, I have listened to the soundtrack on repeat. Check it out on Spotify! ┬áBest Tracks: “Maybe It’s Time”, “Shallow”, and “Always Remember Us This Way”.

Although this film featured many memorable moments, my favorite part of the movie was actually early on in the story. The scene was on the first night Ally and Jackson met, and it depicts them in a grocery store parking lot. The scene was simple, just two people sitting in a parking lot at 3 in the morning, but it had immense significance to the rest of the film because it is the first time we hear Ally sing a song she’s written. It showcases her talent which drives the rest of the plot as she rises to fame.

It was soooo good!”

— Ean Tucker (12)

Overall, the 2018 remake of A Star is Born was spectacular. I thought Cooper’s directing was superb and combined with Gaga’s vocal talent, this movie is so powerful. The second half of the movie earned a lower rating from me just because of how incredibly sad and heartbreaking it was, but the film overall is a winner. Despite the ache in my chest I felt leaving the theater, this was definitely the best movie I’ve seen in 2018 so far. I look forward to seeing how it does during awards season. Go check out this film on the big screen if you get a chance!

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