Reviewed: A Star is Born


A Star Is Born is this month’s hit movie. The fourth iteration of a 1937 film, it retells the story of a famous musician who falls in love with his protege while simultaneously fighting demons of his own. Here, those roles are filled by famous country singer, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), who by happenstance meets a vocally talented waitress, Ally Campana (Lady GaGa). It is a classic story of love and celebrity, but sadly, without a happy ending.

The film begins with Maine hearing Ally perform at a bar one evening. Upon learning that Ally also writes her own music, Maine helps her kickstart her professional career. In the process, the two fall in love. The movie expertly parallels Ally’s rising star and Jackson’s fading one. Ally goes from country singer to pop sensation while Jackson battles alcoholism, ever worsening tinnitus, and the fact that his career is nearing its end. While his older brother and manager Bobby (Sam Elliot) attempts to take care of him, he only spirals further and further. This causes tension between the couple, eventually culminating in Jackson being sent to rehab after an embarrassing incident at the Grammys. Depending on your point of view, the ending will either come across as shocking, or easily predictable.

The rebooted storyline is remastered well thanks to memorable performances from both lead actors. Cooper deserves (and has received) widespread acclaim for his vocal showing: the actor apparently trained with a voice coach and guitar instructor for over a year. Gaga, in her first lead role, steals the show with a versatile and complex performance, and chatterings of a Best Actress nomination are already beginning to spread. More secondary characters such as Sam Elliot’s Bobby and Andrew Dice Clay’s Lorenzo (Ally’s limo-driving father) add color and an extra layer of substance to the movie as well.

My one complaint about the film would be the pacing. The first half of the movie plays out very slowly, intricately laying the groundwork for Jackson and Ally’s relationship, as well as the latter’s career. In the second half, important moments seem to pass in the blink of an eye, with Ally going from humble country singer to Grammy-winning pop sensation. Towards the end, the film felt too frantic; I barely had any time to let the movie’s more important moments sink in. Had Cooper, who also directed the film, made the first half of the film fast-paced and the second half slow-paced, then the movie’s more exceptional moments would have possessed more gravity and garnered more commendation.

A Star Is Born is a stellar example of both a musical film and a romantic drama. Of the four versions of this movie, this one is by far the best.

For showtimes and tickets click here