By Dylan Tracy
Bradley Cooper sings “Tell me something good…” and boy do I have something good to tell you about A Star Is Born. I’ll admit, I have not seen any of the previous three A Star Is Born films, so I do not have anything to compare this film to. A Star Is Born has been towards the top of my list all year, which can be slightly dangerous as it led me to expect a lot from it. That mixed with the buzz of the film from film festival viewers would lead me to one of two conclusions…this is a stand out film that totally hit it out of the park, or it was completely overrated. I’m very pleased to report that it not only met my expectations, it greatly surpassed them.
A Star Is Born tells the story of Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a musician who seems to care more about his alcohol than his career. Jackson stumbles into a drag bar one night after a show (because what Lady Gaga production wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the gay community) and is graced by a performance by the alluring Ally (Lady Gaga), a young struggling singer. Hypnotized by her beauty and talent, Jackson helps Ally take flight with her music and become a star.
Lady Gaga in her big screen debut is a pure natural, as if acting has been her career all along. She delivers a performance that catapults her to a new level of talent (as if Lady Gaga could have more talent), more than just a “triple threat”. It was also refreshing to see her throughout the film with a very natural look, sans makeup, as most of the world is so used to seeing her with such extravagant looks. Bradley Cooper’s performance as a star fallen into the dark world of drug and alcohol addiction is so convincing, you would think he really has an addiction. Some of you may not know, but Clint Eastwood bestowed directing abilities for this film upon Cooper, creating an Oscar worthy directorial debut for the actor. As for Gaga, is she Oscar material? Most definitely.
Cooper was quoted saying he immediately “fell in love with her [Lady Gaga’s] face and eyes”, and he definitely showed that in his use of up close camera angles of her eyes during pivotal points in the film. Through these angles, he took advantage of her beauty to demonstrate longing, love, frustration, empathy, and a whole plethora of emotions throughout the film. The film paints a very vivid and emotional picture of the trials and tribulations that come with stardom, and that while it may seem shiny and glamorous, not everything is gold. And let me tell you, the ending is one of the best endings of a film I have seen in a while.
A Star Is Born is a must see that appeals to audiences of all ages. You will leave the theater in admiration, and the belief that Hollywood is still capable of producing solid films. It is rare that I ever give a movie an “A” rating, but this film is definitely deserving of it.