A Star is Born
Out Now On-Demand
Bradley Cooper makes his directorial debut with this award-winning remake of the classic 1937 musical, starring alongside Lady Gaga. As alcoholism and age slowly sink his own career, movie star musician Jackson Maine (Cooper) helps a younger actor-singer (Lady Gaga) jump-start her own path to fame.
This is the third remake of William A. Wellman's Oscar winner, the first being the 1954 Judy Garland version and the second starred Barbra Streisand in Frank Pierson's 1976 take.
Best Original Song ("Shallows"), Golden Globes 2019 & Academy Awards 2019
- Bradley Cooper(feature debut)
Drama, Music, Musical, Romance, Blockbuster
Rating: M suicide, sex scenes, offensive language and drug use
When A Star is Born hits its best notes, it has the wide, irresistible allure of a pop song that’s survived several generations, and will continue to do so as long as there’s someone there to sing it. Even if you’re not acquainted with the story’s previous cinematic iterations—the oldest of which dates back to 1937—you’ll instantly recognise the hooks.
Bradley Cooper, in his first time out both acting and directing, front-loads the film with the most exuberant of these, sweeping us up into the whirlwind romance between his whiskey-soaked country-rocker Jackson Maine, and Lady Gaga’s aspiring, rawly talented chanteuse Ally. From their initial chance encounter at a drag bar to Ally’s show-stopping butterfly transformation at Maine’s gig, it’s a stratospheric, disarmingly calibrated meet-cute, with the pair oozing charisma and chemistry that’ll seize your heart immediately.
It’s a shame then that A Star is Born doesn’t quite sustain this opening live wire act. The bulky back half is less assured, unevenly maneuvering the billowing storm of a disintegrating relationship and Maine’s battle with alcoholism, while finding time to scoff at the image-obsessed demands of the pop industry via a weaselly, opportunistic producer.
Cooper surrounds himself with sturdy support: Sam Elliott brings an earthy ruefulness to Maine’s older brother Bobby, Andrew Dice Clay charms as Ally’s affable father Lorenzo whenever he’s on-screen. I will add to the chorus of praise for Gaga. She’s the film’s real MVP—a natural actor of surprising depth and soul. Sure, she has to belt out some corny shit, but that lump you feel in your throat? It’s not nothing.
TimeOut (New York)
NewsHub (Kate Rodger)
Lady Gaga Shines!
Amazing...A must watch
A perfect movie of 2018
The Schmaltz is Strong in this One!
A STAR IS BORN was originally made in 1937 with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, (a film loosely based on 1932s WHAT PRICE HOLLYWOOD?), and then remade in 1954 (starring Judy Garland and James Mason), in 1976 (starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson), and now starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who also directs.
Drawing most closely on the 1976 version, this new cover of an old hit is saved from being so much schmaltz-laden, sentimental heart-string tugging romantic tosh by knockout performances, most notably from Lady G as Ally, a nightclub singer discovered by Cooper’s Jackson Maine, a famed singer with an addiction to alcohol with a career on the rocks that takes a dive as Ally’s rises.
The supporting cast are top notch, with Sam Elliott as Jackson’s older bro and manager, Dave Chapelle as Jackson’s friend, Andrew Dice Clay as Ally’s dad, Anthony Ramos as her friend, and some neat guest appearances by the likes of Marlon Williams, Alec Baldwin and Brandi Carlile. But make no mistake, this is Gaga’s show and she owns it. As director, Cooper proves a fine hand at the helm, delivering a rock-solid musical romance with all the emotional ups and heavy downs required by the tragic story arc.
Good looking, talented, a fine director, actor and Cooper can sing – I know, I hate him too! Cooper and Gaga make a great duo, and the sparks fly from the off. Fans of the likes of modern musical romance LA LA LAND rejoice – there’s a new musical in town that’s proud to wear its sentimentality on its glittery, sequined sleeve.
Some may not enjoy the second half of the movie as much as the first, finding it all a bit too generic, but to be fair this is A STAR IS BORN – a remake of a remake of a cover of a cover, yet far from feeling trite and old hat it comes off fresh and full of promise, thanks to superb performances in a film happy to embrace the schmaltz and run with it.
Long, slow, basically a Lady Gaga promo.