Bradley Cooper’s captivating melodrama, A Star Is Born, is essentially a remake of a remake, but it feels completely fresh thanks to its stunning original songs; and the leads who cement their status as two of the greatest talents of their generation.
Cooper stars in his directorial debut as world-famous rock star Jackson Maine, who drinks heavily and is slowly losing his hearing. He still packs out stadiums, but is clearly sick of people constantly talking at him and thinking they know him because they know his music. He’s had it rough; his mother died in childbirth and his dad was a raging alcoholic who made him his regular ‘drinking buddy.’ But now Jackson is pushing away his only remaining family, his older brother Bobby (a glorious Sam Elliott), due to his own delusions of grandeur about their father – and his resentment that Bobby didn’t see him the same way.
In Ally (Lady Gaga), Jackson sees a light he hasn’t seen before – he finds hope in her and she finds love and comfort in him. The relationship is mutually beneficial yet mutually destructive. When Jackson first meets her she’s on stage, performing (in French) Edith Piaf’s ‘La Vie En Rose’. His jaw pretty much hits the floor as he is completely captivated by her; as is the audience. Lady Gaga is a screen presence so incredibly rare. As Jackson and Ally’s relationship grows, I found myself near tears every time she looked at him. How can one person be so filled with life and feeling? Better yet, how can she share it with us with such vulnerability?
The plot boiled down is a whirlwind romantic collision of hope, potential, and cynicism. What elevates its components is the chemistry shared between Jackson and Ally. I can’t think of the last time I saw a love so pure on screen. Visually, A Star Is Born is breath-taking. The scenes on stage are intensely dynamic, the camera sweeping and circling its subjects while the lights flare and the audiences roar. The energy and sheer conviction is at 100 from the get-go, every moment full of life, full of soul. Cooper makes the film feel urgent, important, and it’s completely sure of itself – when Gaga starts to sing, the world stops turning. A Star Is Born is a transcendent feast for the eyes and ears.
by Millicent Thomas
Millicent Thomas is a proud Mancunian who will be studying film at Bath School of Art & Design from September 2018. Hobbies include theatre, museums and waiting for Charles Xavier to show up and tell her she’s the world’s most powerful mutant. Her favourite films include Whiplash, Her, Logan and Short Term 12. You can follow her on Instagram at @millicentathomas and twitter at @millicentonfilm