'A Star Is Born' Movie Review
“Tell me somethin' girl. Are you happy in this modern world? Or do you need more. Is there somethin' else you're searchin' for?...”
“Tell me something boy.
Aren’t you tired tryin’ to fill that void?
Or do you need more.
Ain’t it hard keepin’ it so hardcore?...”
A Star is Born. A story about fame, heartache, and what’s created from it.
Before getting into my review of this highly anticipated musical love story, I want to rewind about ten years. I was 17, a complete outcast in school. I was “somewhat” open about my homosexuality and despite how far we as a society have come in terms of acceptance of the LGBT community, in 2008, in a small mid-west town no less, being gay was not in fashion.
During my senior year of High School, a newly discovered recording artist released her first album. I remember looking at the back of the album, noticing track 4 was the song that I had on repeat on my mp3 (Yes, an mp3!) “Poker Face.” To the side of the track list was this blonde woman dressed in black latex wearing rhinestone glasses and holding a jewel-studded microphone. My senior year of high school I discovered Lady GaGa, and not just Lady GaGa but the truth to my inner self and with her music, her powerful support of the gay community, and ever-evolving musical and theatrical star power, I became the self-aware, unapologetic, proud person I am today.
Recognize this face? Lady GaGa in the "Poker Face" music video, 2009.
6 studio albums purchased, front row at the 2010 Monster Ball Tour, and witness to several awards, here we are in 2018. Lady GaGa’s major film debut in the fourth interpretation of A Star Is Born.
The first version of A Star Is Born was released in 1937 and starred Janet Gaynor & Fredric March. The next version was a major motion picture musical in 1954 starring Judy Garland & James Mason. The third version was a rock musical released in 1976 starring Barbra Streisand & Kris Kristofferson. And now, 2018 brings us Lady GaGa & Bradley Cooper.
A project several years in the making, including multiple directors, numerous rewrites, and initially Beyoncé cast in the lead, I was thrilled to find out that Lady GaGa, someone who is PERFECT for a major film was going to be starring in the Lead Role. Lady GaGa has always been a theatrical performer and proved to everyone her acting abilities in her Golden Globe winning performance as The Countess in Ryan Murphy’s FX show American Horror Story: Hotel.
Another exciting factor to the development of A Star Is Born was the fact that this is Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. Already a well-rounded and respected actor, many were curious if Cooper could deliver the goods on a story that has already been interpreted on to the screen three other times.
So, what did I think of the movie?
Sitting in the front row and watching Lady GaGa on the big screen and not just as a singer, but as an actress, I was left completely speechless by the end credits.
A Star is Born is an emotionally stirring modern musical piece of art that is the perfect stepping stone for Lady GaGa proving once again, how far she has come in the eyes of the public as a masterful entertainer. In Cooper’s directorial debut, he delivers a film so inventive that while quite emotional, still carries a hard-edged punch.
4-Time Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper delivers an outstanding performance as Jackson Maine, a famous singer-songwriter struggling with alcohol and substance abuse. It’s clear that Cooper used Kris Kristofferson’s character of John Norman Howard in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born as a source of inspiration for the role but what Bradley Cooper also does is create a sympathetic artistry that makes the viewer connect more with his character.
Lady GaGa plays Ally, a singer-songwriter that Jackson discovers and from the time they meet, the two create an instant bond that carries through the film and is all the more believable due to Bradley Cooper and Lady GaGa’s undeniable chemistry. Unlike Barbra Streisand’s character in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born, Lady GaGa’s portrayal of Ally is one that I think viewers would take kinder to as Ally is vulnerable, fearful of fame and the heartache attached to it.
Supporting members of the cast include Sam Elliott, who plays Cooper’s much older brother and manager. Also featured in the film is Andrew Dice Clay who turns in an incredible supporting performance as Ally’s father who after seeing how Ally’s rise to fame has affected Jackson, takes matters into his own hands.
Sam Elliott as Bobby Maine. A former musician, Bobby is resentful of Jackson's success and having to monitor Jackson's bad-temper.
Andrew Dice Clay as Lorenzo, Ally's father. He pushes Ally to be as successful as possible.
We also get the fabulous pleasure of Lady GaGa returning to her roots early on in the film and performing at a Drag Bar, in French no less!
Some of the Drag Queens featured in the film are RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Shangela, who plays the emcee, and Willam who is serenated by Bradley Cooper with a rhinestone guitar and has Jackson Maine’s signature written on his breastplate.
Halleloo! It's Shangela!
Speaking of guitar? How is the music in A Star Is Born?
You have one of the biggest, most inventive recording artists in the world contributing to this film.
The soundtrack better be epic!
Well I can tell you, As I fully expected, the music in A Star Is Born is incredible and Bradley Cooper’s vocals made me believe he could be a top recording artist today. I also really liked the way they highlighted Ally’s character being nervous to break out of her fear of performing her own music. The now chart-hitting duet “Shallow” is one of the ultimate standouts and I cannot get that incredible note from GaGa out of my head!
Having seen Lady GaGa in concert, many performances of hers in this film rekindled those special memories. As Ally, GaGa puts you right in the audience and not only delivers what she does on stage in real life but basically creates a completely new artist while still bringing the vocals and creativity of the Lady GaGa we have come to love.
I have watched the conclusion of the 1976 version of A Star is Born starring Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand and while there can only be one Streisand, I can honestly say that I have never been so moved by a song in a film as I was the way Lady GaGa delivered “I’ll Never Love Again.” Truthfully, I was completely breathless. And that is just one of the many tracks Lady GaGa delivers epic vocals. I swear, these are some of the best songs of GaGa’s career.
The ⚡️GODS⚡️ have spoken
The soundtrack to A Star Is Born really is a multifaceted surface of pop, country, and rock music. We see Lady GaGa, once again, reveal new sides of her vocal scales and Bradley Cooper has a voice that soars in his solo performances, particularly in the slamming guitar track “Black Eyes” and slow strumming tune “Maybe It’s Time.”
I really admired the fact that in the film, Lady GaGa’s character Ally undergoes a complete pop-diva makeover and is transformed into something she had no intention of becoming, something I am sure Lady GaGa has encountered in her career. In fact, one of the things I enjoyed most about A Star Is Born is that here you have one of the biggest artists in the world taking elements of their personal life of fame and delivering it on to the screen with such powerful conviction.
The soundtrack to the 1976 film A Star Is Born earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song for it’s Theme Song “Evergreen” and with the Oscars only a few months away, I hope to see Cooper and GaGa perform “Shallow” on stage and to see several songs from the film nominated as I would argue that this is the best film soundtrack in the past decade.
Speaking of the Academy Awards? Is it too early to predict A Star Is Born receiving multiple Oscar nominations?
NO WAY! The reviews for A Star Is Born have been overwhelmingly positive and at this point, I would say that Bradley Cooper deserves a nomination for both direction and acting and Lady Gaga definitely deserves a nomination if not a win for her performance as Ally.
Lady GaGa now joins the ranks of artists like Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand as leaving her mark on this infamous story about fame, love, and the price that comes with it. I truly believe that Lady GaGa now has the seal of approval from critics and the movie going public to carry on her ability of putting on many different faces and parlaying her skills as a musical entertainer into an accomplished actress.
Not many films exceed my expectations the way A Star Is Born did.
I was at opening night for the highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War and after the lights in the theatre turned on, the audience began to disperse. I was there opening night for A Star Is Born and once the end credits began to roll, I joined the audience in a thunderous applause. If that doesn’t speak volumes to the impact that this film has on the viewing public, I don’t know what does.
A Star is Born won’t ever beat it’s opening night competition Venom in Box Office, but it certainly will be unmatched in acclaim.
A Star Is Born is a modern rock love story for the ages and I don’t care if you aren’t a fan of Cooper, of GaGa, of musicals…You need to see this movie!
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