“Lady Gaga is the next Meryl Streep, but better.” – Elijah Weaver
There is a certain magnetic quality definitive of the new rendition of the classic tale A Star is Born. It forgoes any slow-simmering exposition or excessive climactic build-up. Within seconds we are standing before Jackson Maine, a seasoned rocker with an old-time country charm played by Bradley Cooper, as he glides through a stadium-crushing anthem. Cooper’s vocal abilities are also surprisingly evocative. But this is a movie full of surprises, and it isn’t long before Lady Gaga stuns us with the full gamut of her talent, her electric stage presence accompanied by the chilling range and depth of her voice.
We are shortly transferred from awed audience members into intimate observers, as the unapologetically sincere love begins developing between Maine and Ally. Cooper, in his well-delivered directorial debut, presents an unabashed portrayal of the firm integrity and truthfulness of love, while making sure not to glamorize it as realistically unattainable, a portrayal too often conveyed by Hollywood. There is no such thing as completely selfless love, and this is proven throughout, especially through the subtle envy and resulting self-destructive tendencies of Maine, as he struggles to come to terms with Ally’s swift rise to stardom.
In its completeness, A Star is Born is a bitter-sweet tragedy. It is a warning about the entanglements of love, envy, and success, questioning the possibility of them coexisting harmoniously. But it is also a celebration of hidden talent, a triumphant exploration of one musician’s much deserved recognition. The movie has its pitfalls, especially in its pacing, as it can be hard to track any clear timeline and progression of events. Plus, the second half drags, the captivating climax arriving too early. Nevertheless, the acting is superb all around (including Sam Elliot’s stirring performance as Maine’s brother), the directing brilliantly humanizes these characters, and the music is simply magnificent. You will be left aching for more when the credits role. Luckily, we have Spotify.
Must See Now
Must See in Theaters
Must See, but You Can Wait
Don’t Watch This Movie
OSCAR PREDICTIONS (NOMINATIONS, NOT WINS):
We should expect this to steal the largest number of nominations. Unless something totally surprises out of the woodwork this Winter.
(definitely) Best Picture – A Star is Born
(probably) Best Director – Bradley Cooper
(definitely) Best Actress – Lady Gaga
(definitely) Best Actor – Bradley Cooper
(definitely) Best Supporting Actor – Sam Elliot
(definitely) Best Song – Shallow
(definitely) Best Soundtrack – A Star is Born
Probably more. Adapted Screenplay, maybe?