Unlike most romantic dramas which build-up slowly, ‘A Star is Born’ is fast paced. The story unfolds quickly as it’s love at first sight for Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) when he meets Ally Campana (Lady Gaga). The romance seems a bit too fast initially. But when you think about it, for artistes on tour, life on the road is fast. It’s a whole new take on directing such movies but it allows the the audience enjoy the romance for an extended time. And it works!
‘A Star is Born’ is the fourth remake of the 1937 film with the same name. It’s the story of a country musician Jackson Maine (Cooper) who discovers and falls in love with a young singer, Ally (Gaga) while battling an alcohol and drug addition.
Ally lives with her dad. She’s a waitress who also sings at a drag bar at night. After Jackson’s ‘Black Eyes’ concert in California, he ends up at the Blue Bar where Ally’s performance moves him to tears. They end up spending the night together talking. Jackson invites Ally to perform with him at his next concert, and ‘A Star is Born’.
While on tour with Jackson, Ally meets Rez (Rafi Gavron), a record producer who refocuses her career from country music to pop. As Ally attains stardom, Jackson’s career goes downhill due to his alcoholism.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s onscreen chemistry is extraordinary. It leaves us with goosebumps. And Gaga’s ability to suppress her eccentric persona and play naive, insecure and vulnerable is highly impressive. She’s extremely convincing when Cooper invites her on stage to perform “Shallow” for the first time. Gaga is even more convincing when Ally goes into the shower with Jackson. Underneath that glamour, is a simple girl just in love. She just wants to help this man who loves her and birth her career even when her dad said, “It’s not all the best singers who make it”.
Cooper’s performance is also remarkable. Who knew he could sing? Mind you, the vocals for the movie were live! His acting is also deeply emotional. Every time Jackson touches Ally you feel the emotion. From removing Ally’s taped eyebrows to feeling her nose backstage in the drag bar, it is deeply romantic. Good directing involves not necessarily saying everything if it can be expressed in other ways. Jackson doesn’t say a word when Ally meets Rez but his looks says it all. Cooper also did that brilliantly with the suicide scene (spoiler alert).
The producers also paid good attention to detail. When Ally eventually braves it to perform ‘Shallow’ with Jackson, she’s still wearing her access tag. That gave further credence to the scene.
The songs in ‘A Star is Born’ are also a part of the good storytelling. The advance the plot. ‘Always Remember Us This Way’ is a prelude to Jackson’s downfall. Ally and Jackson are leaving the concert grounds after performing ‘Always Remember Us This Way’ when she meets Rez.
The cinematography, story, acting and music in the movie are brilliant. ‘A Star is Born’ is a very impressive work of art for Cooper’s directorial debut. It is currently showing in cinemas.
Directed by Bradley Cooper
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott