I’ve never been a fan of Bradley Cooper. When I found out he was directing and acting in this remake I was unimpressed. He always seems to play different versions of the same character in his films. In Silver Linings Playbook he was abrasive Bradley. In The Hangover he was abrasive arrogant Bradley. In American Sniper he was abrasive American hero Bradley. Not my cup of tea. Then I saw a Star is Born. His underplayed grizzled alcoholic movie star finally won me over. As director he got genuine performances out of everyone involved including Sam Elliot and Lady Gaga. And himself.
I wasn’t a fan of Lady Gaga’s music at first. Then the rhythmic beats and catchy lyrics started to stick with me. In AHS: Hotel, I wasn’t sure about her performance. It felt a little flat. Upon second viewing, I started to warm up to her acting as well. Then I saw A Star is Born and I realized she is our generations David Bowie. She pushes boundaries and eclipses film, music, and fashion. I’m more than okay with that.
I went to see this with a friend who hadn’t seen the previous versions and she walked in assuming it would have the usual happy Hollywood ending. When we left the theater a couple hours later she had tears streaming down her face and jokingly said to me “You could have warned me”. So here is a film that hits emotionally on so many levels that it reduced my friend, who I have never seen shed a tear in 20 years of knowing her, into crying.
A Star is Born is an honest and tragic story about the effect fame and addiction have on relationships. Don’t let the fact that it is a remake of an old Hollywood standby fool you. The writing, direction, camera work and acting are all strong points here. The soundtrack is amazing – better than any Lada Gaga album.
My only issue with it is that her manager basically gets away with causing the tragic ending. That bothers me A LOT in the same way that Sam Rockwell’s character in Three Billboards got away with his behavior. Gaga’s manager in this film – that boy is a monster.