This generation’s A Star is Born has been a long time in the making. In the early 2000s, Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez were rumored to star in the remake. In 2012, Beyoncé was this close to playing the part of the rising star alongside Bradley Cooper. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts forced Beyoncé to bow out. Later it was confirmed that Lady Gaga would join Bradley Cooper, who now would be taking on dual roles as both the male lead and director.
I was always going to love A Star is Born, even if it turns out that Bradley Cooper is an awful director and Lady Gaga is a worse actor. I pride myself on being the first of my friends to “discover” Lady Gaga. To show support, I’ve purchased all of her albums, even the not-so-great ones, and attended her concerts. I’ve been counting down the days until I’d be able to watch her pour her heart and soul onto the big screen. The moment is finally here, and boy is it worth the wait. Lady Gaga’s performance is raw, vulnerable and heartbreaking. Bradley Cooper, too, gives a surprising and passionate performance. In the end, you’ll leave the movie reassessing the music industry and how we as a celebrity-obsessed culture treat, and ultimately dispose of, artists.
Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), an alcoholic musician with a catalog full of hits, sees Ally (Lady Gaga) perform in a bar. Awestruck by her talent, he buys her a drink and the two spend the early morning hours getting in bar fights, flirting and discussing Ally’s untapped songwriting and vocal skills. According to Ally, producers in the past have said she’s not pretty enough to earn her right to be heard. Fortunately for her, Jackson is so famous that he can do whatever he wants. He flies Ally out to his next performance and coerces her to sing on stage with him. The two fall in love and later struggle to keep themselves afloat once Ally’s career transcends Jackson’s.
You can tell that Bradley Cooper took his directorial debut very seriously. To recreate the experience of playing live in front of thousands, he filmed some of the concert scenes at Coachella, an annual music festival based in California. He also lowered his voice an octave, adopted a grisly look and encouraged Lady Gaga to shed her well-known persona. His attention to detail makes for an authentic movie about the peaks and valleys of stardom.
However, Lady Gaga is the real star in A Star is Born. While this isn’t her acting debut, it felt like I was seeing her act for the very first time. I’m not saying that she was bad in the other roles, but in A Star is Born her acting is mature, subdued even. Ultimately, she’s the one in jeopardy of losing it all—Jackson, her burgeoning career, even herself as an artist, and Lady Gaga portrays this flawlessly. With the help of A Star is Born, Lady Gaga has been reborn, and I’m eager to see what she does next.