Director Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star Is Born is an extremely raw and gripping film with brilliant performances and well-crafted musical numbers.
A man named Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is an extraordinarily famous singer who constantly is able to have his tours sell out instantly. He is able to play the guitar remarkably well and can also sing which his fans adore. One day while at a bar, Maine encounters a young woman named Ally (Lady Gaga) who is like him, a singer, but she only sings in the bar in front of a couple of people. Maine quickly takes notice of Ally’s undeniable talent at singing and attempts to do his best to make her become the next big star in the world, even when his severe problems with alcoholism get in his way.
From the opening scene alone, A Star Is Born is a viciously loud film with excellent music and sets the tone for the rest of the film that follows. Throughout the film, we near numerous musical numbers, some performed by Maine and some by Ally. For people who have never been to a concert before, A Star Is Born is one of the closest things to being at a concert if viewers watch it with the best audio quality possible at their local theatre. Each song that exploded on the screen mixed with amazing visuals and gripping story had its own beautiful message. Some of the best songs from the film include “Shallow” and “I’ll Never Love Again”. The two songs had an emotional story to tell, and together, they are two of the best songs written for a motion picture in years. Be on the lookout for at least one song from A Star Is Born to be nominated in the Best Original Song category at the upcoming Academy Awards show.
Cooper does an excellent job here as Maine. His character has so many layers and it is so easy to be intrigued with his character. From the first time we see him all the way throughout, his character always contributed something of severe importance to the story. One of the best scenes in the entire film is in the third act, where Cooper has to show extreme emotion with minimal dialogue and he pulls it off effortlessly.
Also terrific in this film is Gaga who portrays Ally. When we first meet her, she performs to a small but enthusiastic crowd, but has a big dream to one day perform in front of the world. That’s why whenever Maine comes along with his songwriting talent to help Ally along the way, we constantly root for Ally to become the big star that she could be. A large majority of the film’s scenes were beautifully done thanks to Gaga and her beautiful vocals.
The cinematography is also masterful, shot by Matthew Libatique. There is a plethora of shots that look extremely symmetrical which was gorgeous to see. Additionally, there are quite a few close up shots of Cooper and Gaga’s faces here, and in these scenes we can really see the emotion that their character is feeling which was so subtle, but so well thought out and done.
This picture does not have music playing for every second of the film however which is to be appreciated. It has an extremely real story that focuses heavily on the lead characters – Maine and Ally and the relationship that blossoms between the two. Before seeing A Star Is Born, a small part of me was thinking that it was going to be a lot of musical numbers with not too much of a story to tell. Thankfully, that was not the case at all. Furthermore, this film has one of the most emotional endings in a motion picture this year.
Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born is an enthralling film that boasts beautifully written music, and contains a gritty story propelled by amazing performances.
Overall Grade: A+
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle
Directed by: Bradley Cooper
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 135 minutes