10th Oct2018

‘A Star is Born’ Review – Second Opinion

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle | Written by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters | Directed by Bradley Cooper


Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born is the fourth iteration of the beloved source material of the classic rags to riches story. At one stage reportedly through the last decade of development, it was a passion project for Clint Eastwood to helm with any eye for Beyonce in the leading actress role. Ultimately, Eastwood chose the road of Jersey Boys to mixed response and the queen of music continued to solidify herself as the biggest star on the planet. Fast-forward to 2017 and understudy to Eastwood, Bradley Cooper takes the directors chair for his directorial debut and the leading actor role with the somewhat sceptical choice of Lady Gaga taking the incredibly ardent and monumental task of leading actress.

The end result? A majestic and empowering venture into the nucleus of stardom and the bridges that build and burn around you…

Cooper’s performance is delightfully magnetic and an immense traumatic tale of touching turmoil and exploration. It’s Cooper’s almost stoic and internal introverted performance that evokes a staggering sense of self-corruption and chaotic, redeeming charm. Distinctly and specifically his character Jackson Maine takes the stage, away from his problems, or even possibly the force that provokes his addiction and troubles further. Never clearly stating if his moments of perceived pleasure are ultimately his downfalls of isolated loneliness, although the implication is almost assured. His ruffled and gravely Arizona infused voice deeply resonates on screen. His presence, modelled on Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, feels as raw and authentic as the real thing, a bizarre notion of art imitating real life in almost a meta/biopic manner. Cooper directs with a suave and brave approach. His eye for the camera and space is a beautiful aspect to his production. He allows the film to breathe and flow with a simplistic pleasure and ease of sorts. A notable aspect that may clinch him the famed gold statue more for his visual style and storytelling rather than his beautifully absorbing performance.

Cooper’s Maine finds comfort when he can simplify his world with his love for his art, at the time his only outlet of self-acceptance and cathartic balance. Gaga’s Ally injects such a wonderful balance of nurture with an honest and genuine articulation of rapturous majestic emotional prowess. Ally contextually balances Maine’s equation of approval. The result is a sweet spellbinding explosion of purity. Gaga’s layered performance is undoubtedly a testament of the singer having lived this life. The battle of finding your voice and keeping yourself true and honest in a pool of moral corruption and artistic blemishing. Her range and development are honest and noble. Her development on screen and contextually as an actress still developing her talent in more dramatic narrative form is striking and wonderful.

A Star is Born is deeply troublingly authentic and honest portrayal of the cost and selling of one’s soul. The film is a testament to the ideals and flaws within the Hollywood system. Even with four incarnations of a story simplified as rags to riches, it personifies the morbid tales that were valid and horrendous in William A. Wellman’s 1937 version, George Cukor’s 1954 and Frank Pierson’s 1976 adaptions, respectively. A strong and dark reminder that the future and fame one is thirsting for isn’t the easiest form of love and enlightenment.

A Star is Born is in cinemas now.


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