Review: “A Star is Born”


Sky Barratt, Staff Writer

If you haven’t seen Bradley Cooper’s 2018 rendition of Hollywood’s arguably iconic A Star is Born, find yourself a nearby theater and purchase a ticket for the soonest possible showing. Buy a big tub of popcorn and some ice cold Coca-Cola and get ready to watch a movie that will prompt you to download the entire soundtrack before you’ve even made it back to your car, and then drive home blinded by bittersweet tears. I won’t give any spoilers, but I must warn that the movie is rated R for scenes of sexuality, nudity, language, heavy alcohol and drug use, as well as some generally heavy topics that tend to lie heavily on the heart (cue the tears).

Cooper not only directs, but also stars in the film as country singer Jackson Maine, alongside Lady Gaga who portrays a struggling artist named Ally, whose big nose and plain features prevent her from achieving her dreams of stardom, despite her dreamy mezzo-soprano voice and natural songwriting talent. After a chance encounter at a drag bar, Maine scoops Ally from her everyday life and launches her into his, sparking both a beautiful career and a tender romance.

First of all, the plotline was stunning. The relationship built between Ally and Maine took moments that the average person may struggle to relate to and through incredible acting and masterful camerawork, transforms them into touching, lucid moments for both the couple and the viewers. As the movie progresses, these intimate moments that lead Ally and Maine from being strangers to much more in a short amount of time are incredibly fluid and add to the depth of the entire story as a whole in a very central and striking way that makes the ending that much more powerful.

Cooper also did an incredible job of capturing the emotions behind each scene through the camera, most notably in the electric concert scenes in which the adrenaline onstage was palpable, and everything from the weather to a quickened heartbeat seemed apparent and remarkably organic. Paired with Gaga’s skin-prickling vocals, the movie comes to life in a way that promises an enduring mark on movie history.

Together, these various aspects created a truly touching and deeply magnetic story of true love, success, and what happiness looks like in the modern world, despite all of its brokenness. It leaves haunting images in your head that will leave you gutted and deep in thought as the film lingers in your consciousness, a powerful sign of a powerful movie.

However, perhaps one of the most incredible aspects of the film that has created a buzz within the Oscar community lies outside the story itself in the performance of Lady Gaga. Gaga’s performance as Ally was breathtaking. Her ability to transcend her own stardom and bold reputation as the meat dress-wearing, crazy-haired pop star we became familiar with in the 2000’s is verging on supernatural as she manages to completely leave behind her public reputation, transforming completely into the down-to-earth and undoubtedly relatable character of Ally we see on screen.

This phase in Gaga’s career has been a long time coming. Beginning with the release of her latest album Joanne in 2016, Gaga re-introduced herself as a heartfelt, soft-rock artist, only leaving behind slight notes of her recognizable dance-pop within a few of the songs. Following this was her memorable 2017 Super Bowl Halftime show, and finally the release of a documentary on Netflix entitled “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” in which Gaga shares the intimate and raw specifics of her day-to-day life and details the risky decision to show a more adult and real version of herself to the world.

A Star is Born acts as the cherry on top of this transformation. With the release of this film, Gaga can no longer be classified as an eccentric pop singer, but demands being taken seriously. She has undoubtedly earned it.