A Star is Born impresses with original songs, emotional turns

Angelo Anderson
October 16, 2018

As Lady Gaga continues to receive many accolades for her work in the movie "A Star is Born", she recently opened up about the price that stardom has taken on her life away from the cameras.

Lady Gaga's compelling theatrical performance and Cooper's extraordinary musical performance are among the most pleasant surprises of this film. At the end, it's Bobby who sums up Jackson's existence, saying only Jackson was responsible for both his life and death and no one else should feel guilty about it, thereby lending succour to Ally.

The film follows Ally, played by Gaga, an aspiring singer/songwriter who has all but given up on stardom before she meets washed-up country star Jackson Main, played by Bradley Cooper. And despite her ability to relate to Ally, Gaga has also said that "she's very different than I was". Jackson, on the other hand, ties a strong connection with alcohol, drugs and other intoxication to drown himself from the guilt of being jealous of his wife's success. Her chemistry with everyone in the film is out of this world, from Cooper to her father, played by an unrecognizable Andrew Dice Clay ("Vinyl"). Her performances are raw and emotional. The audience sees Ally perform for the first time in front of a large audience when she sings "Shallow" as a duet with Jackson. In the scene, she's singing "La Vie en Rose". It's enchanting and awe-inspiring. Insistent that his product should be an authentic reflection of the music industry as it stands in 2018, Cooper also spent time working with Lukas Nelson - son of Willie - and his band Promise of the Real, in order to properly understand the life of a touring musician. This is especially true when Gaga's character, after some hesitation, drops most of her country music sensibility to transform into an global pop-star. But, this story is the rise of one star concurrent with the decline of another.

Gaga - who was born and raised in NY - didn't have an easy route to stardom, and suffered when she was released from a record deal with Def Jam after just three months in 2006. She spent the early days of her career singing in drag bars on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

It's a magical moment in what is truly a magical film.

This is what made Lady Gaga what she is, how could she have let the film disrespect it. The only thing keeping him from self-destructing is Ally. Jack's addiction is thoroughly explored. Directed, co-written (with Will Fetters), and starring Bradley Cooper, it's got music, romance and a compelling, if often-told, show-business story. The melodies are catchy, the lyrics unique, and the vocals powerful. Cooper, who has turned director with the film, extracts commendable performances from everybody in the cast.

The difference with this film that sets it apart from the usual mold of Oscar-bait movies is that this one really doubles down on the heart factor. The film's main focus is Ally and Jack, their music, and their relationship, and the soundtrack reiterates this.

This remake of A Star Is Born is entertaining, crowd-friendly, a fairy tale-like drama with some tear jerking thrown into the mix (as in the Barbra Streisand version). In the myth, Pygmalion, a sculptor in search of a "real woman" unlike those that surround him, creates an ivory statue so attractive he falls madly in love with it, to the point that the gods take pity on him and make the statue a real person.

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