A Star is Born (2018) is a musical drama based on the infamous story told several times in film over the decades. This is Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut and he stars in this picture alongside first-time actor and infamous artist Lady Gaga, who keeps her stage name for the promotional material of this film. This is one of the first major Oscar contenders to be released to the cinema as awards season approaches us once again.
In this film, famous country artist Jackson Maine (Cooper) stumbles into a drag club after a gig to come across Ally (Gaga) performing and falls in love with her voice. Witnessing her songwriting and vocal talents, he invites her to his next concert where she goes on stage and performs her own song. They start to fall in love and through the troubles of the music industry, as well as Jackson’s problems with drug addiction and alcoholism, this film shows the struggles of the relationship and the rise and fall of both artists.
This is a film that I have been majorly excited about since I heard about the project. I have been in love with Bradley Cooper since he starred in one of my favourite movies of all time, Silver Linings Playbook (2012). The advertising campaign has been so strong for this film, and that is down to highlighting Gaga’s talent. Cooper is self-aware that a lot of fans are going to watch this film purely because of Gaga, and that hype has been well built. This was a film that I had highly anticipated and with recent films either being okay or underwhelming, I was hoping that this film wouldn’t join the list.
|A Star is Born (2018) – source: Warner Bros. Pictures|
This film may be 136 minutes long but this film makes use of every second of that. With Krasinski first in A Quiet Place (2018), to Cooper in A Star is Born, this truly seems to be the year of directorial debuts from the leading star. Cooper shines both front and behind the scenes, showing all aspects of his skills and abilities. Whether he is singing, something I didn’t even know he could do, to giving a heart-wrenching performance as his character deals with drug abuse and alcoholism, he always makes us feel a presence on the screen and you forget it is a fictional story with an actor in front of you.
Behind the scenes, he really knows how to set up a compelling story. The film starts by setting up important features, right from the one take of him walking up to the stage, taking drugs before he goes on, and starting to perform. This single shot not only makes the audience feel like they are there in the moment, but it also feels like a real moment into Jackson’s life, right from the start. Everything about the story and how it is told has been done so well, especially from a first-time director.
Of course, a big reason why this film works so well in terms of narrative comes down to Lady Gaga’s performance. Right from the first moment we see her on screen, she gives her all into the character. It was clear that her vocals were going to be spot on even from the trailers, but I am not sure if anyone was expecting her to give the dramatic performance she has given. Gaga and Cooper both certainly give Oscar worthy performances, and I hope they get the recognition that they thoroughly deserve.