A Star Is Born stars Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, an ageing, alcoholic musician in a downward spiral; whilst Lady Gaga plays the talented young singer he helps find fame.
I’ll start by saying that I definitely misread the film’s duration of ‘one hundred and thirty six minutes’ as ‘one hour thirty-six minutes.’ Luckily though, in the end the longer than average two hours 16 minutes total length barely proved punishing.
As for why this movie appealed, I had to watch it if just to see how well Cooper faired in the dual leading actor / director role. The good news is, A Star Is Born is a well executed story that’s heartbreaking, funny, layered, well captured and it features some rather memorable music. In fact, my favourite song on the soundtrack is called Shallow and I’ve played it many and I mean MANY times since.
There’s no denying that I absolutely bought Cooper’s tortured character’s emotional journey. I also believed him as a rock star because of the good music in the film and how his character presented physically – including the way he moved – both on and off the stage. I especially enjoyed the first time Shallow is performed on stage; a pretty glorious experience that’s very beautifully shot.
Besides Cooper’s well executed dual roles, other highlights include the deep bass in Cooper and co-star Sam Elliott’s voices. There’s also a memorable perfectly timed funny moment that involves one of the two / three times Frank Sinatra is mentioned.
As for the not quite great things about A Star Is Born, my suspension of disbelief was briefly interrupted by the uncomfortable closeups near the beginning of the movie. Closeups that luckily either eased off as the film went on, or they somehow bothered me less. There were also one or two moments of dialogue that felt quite awkward during Cooper and Gaga’s early interactions. Thankfully though, that awkwardness also eased off as the film continued.
Watch A Star Is Born because it’s good, handles well themes linked to different kinds of relationships, familial, business, healthy, unhealthy, poisonous, etc. Lastly, if you’re not already in love, there’s a reasonable chance that A Star Is Born will make you want to be – and likely with a musician. So good luck with that!
Happy Film Loving