A Star Is Born (2018) – Film Review

For Bradley Cooper, this is a huge achievement for him in not only producing, directing and starring in this fourth take in this classic story, he makes the film his own. Lady Gaga does a great job with him in creating a story that not only feels genuine between the two characters, but makes it more a focus on Bradley Cooper’s character Jackson Maine. As an almost has been Rock/Country star it showcases the characters classic alcoholism and substance abuse issues. The film also poignantly showcases mental health awareness as well. Both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga did a fantastic job on the songs in curating a strong memorable soundtrack with the hit single “Shallow.”

Bradley does a good job in helping out Lady Gaga in giving her a role that doesn’t over challenge her in her abilities as an actress but also gives her room for growth as an actor. I did feel a couple of times in the movie that the character shifted too much onto her real life persona, even though it can be viewed as a commentary on being in music industry today. I wished that they had tried a little something different so she didn’t seem too much like herself or done something to indicate she wasn’t being her real self. Cooper does a great job in show not tell with a lot of visual cues and actions without being heavy handed. I would say that the film, though borrowing most of the storylines of the previous versions, needs a bit of editing because the film is a little longer than it needs to be.

I just wanted to take another look at you.

I did appreciate how the film ended. It was pretty powerful, though it didn’t make me cry or feel overly emotional — it did feel it stuck the landing. Lady Gaga’s work as Ally shows great potential with her character’s arc. The character of Ally did feel a bit like a pre-Lady Gaga Stephanie. Though that the film does mirror some of her life, I do think that there was some separation. All the work that she did in creating those songs is very much noticed. The level of effort that Bradley did into learning to sing and be on the same level as Lady Gaga to be her equal in the film is quite impressive.

Overall I think this will be a definite version of “A Star Is Born” for quite some time. It would be hard to top this for about another generation or so – nothing could be really gained unless you fundamentally change the basic simplistic plot that has been told many times over. I would say that the sound design for the film for the live concerts is definitely worth the ticket price. During awards season I can see this being nominated for several awards including Original Song, Director, Actor and Actress.


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