Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in the remake of A Star is Born, in theaters October 5. The film follows the love story of Jackson, an aging country-rocker, and Ally, a striving young singer, who experience the highs and lows of fame together. Between Gaga’s emotional vocals and Cooper’s gut wrenching portrayal of addiction, this film is definitely a must see.
Without a doubt, Lady Gaga was the perfect choice to fill the shoes of the legendary Barbra Streisand. As always, her vocals in the film are practical flawless, not to mention that all of the songs in the film were recorded live. Yes, you read that right: every song in the film was recorded live on film, from both Cooper and Gaga. I was brought to tears several times throughout the film from Gaga’s vocals alone. Perhaps more than any other, the song “Shallow” that both Cooper and Gaga sing exemplifies Gaga’s awe-inspiring musical gift and Cooper’s rather surprising talent. Ally comes out of her shell when she sings this song onstage with Jackson for the first time, and this song represents when the true star of the story is born. All Jackson has to do is stand back and let Ally shine.
This film was packed with actors and singers breaking their comfort zones right to the ground. Before Lady Gaga was, well, Lady Gaga, she was Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, a NYU Tisch School of the Arts student and starving actor and singer. So, Gaga knows a thing or two about the reality of the music industry and the price that comes with fame, and it’s tangible in her acting performance. Her acting was incredibly natural in this film, which I believe was because of the reality of these circumstances for her. In the beginning of the film, there’s a scene where Ally is performing in a Drag bar singing a French song, and as soon as she opens her mouth, Jackson is smitten by her voice, her charm, and her striking nose, which most people have found unattractive but he finds beautiful. Gaga’s ability to channel her insecurities into her performance makes it all the more believable and puts her on right par with Cooper’s acting experience. Cooper, on the other hand, shows an unexpected musical ability that perfectly complements Gaga’s raw talent. His portrayal of addiction is raw and truly heartbreaking. His desire to get better tips and turns throughout the film, and his drunken mistakes ultimately get the best of him and his career. His singing cannot go unnoticed. His voice sounds unedited and is actually quite good. Cooper has a naturally husky voice that lends itself to country-rock and is a surprisingly enjoyable facet of the film.
I give A Star is Born 4.5/5 stars. Aside from the musicality and dedication to craft present in the film, there are some awkward moments in the chemistry between Cooper and Gaga that detract from the storytelling. At times, it does feel like you are watching Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, not their respective characters. Nevertheless, A Star is Born is an emotional and entertaining tragedy that is worth a watch. We will definitely be seeing it this award season.