“A Star is Born” may well be the perfect movie of 2018. With the first version hitting the big screen in 1937, the classic hit resurfaces with a fresh look at love, talent, luck, and life in the fast lane.
Some human emotions are timeless, and the chemistry between the two big stars in the lead roles is palpable. The music that winds its way through scene after scene leaves you either crying in your popcorn or tapping your toe, depending on the situation.
The mega-talented Bradley Cooper stars in the film as Jackson Maine, a hard-drinking, dope snorting country singer whose career has already seen its heyday. Cooper’s skill is boundless. Not only does he star in the film, but he also directs, produces, and sings like a mockingbird. If you liked Cooper before, you’ll love him here.
To add to the sweetness, enter the show-stopping Lady Gaga who reaches down somewhere deep to play Ally, a struggling singer who’s been defeated many more times than she’s ever been recognized. Gaga’s acting chops are as polished and big as Cooper’s ability to sing. Who knew?
After a chance meeting in a bar where Maine hears Ally sing, the two strike up a relationship. Shortly thereafter, Maine graciously invites Ally onstage to sing with him. The fans go wild, a manager steps in and, as the title suggests, a star is born.
Ally is easy to love, and as her career skyrockets, Maine’s goes the other direction. Although on the surface, he appears to support her, as soon as her stardom lands her three Grammy nominations, his drinking and drug abuse escalate. After being relegated to back-up guitar-player status on the very award show where Ally will receive her award, Maine makes a mess of the whole affair, embarrassing Ally, and making a fool of himself.
Always forgiving, always supportive, Ally soldiers on as Maine checks himself into rehab. The outcome of their relationship plays out through the music, and it’s a sad song.
I’m listening to the sound track as I write this, and the mix of styles, the heart felt lyrics, and the emotional intensity underpin the exceptional acting and the chemistry. I don’t know whether to applaud or cry in my beer for the joy of it. Maybe both.
Rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse.
Marilyn Robitaille writes film reviews for the Stephenville Empire-Tribune and Glen Rose Reporter.