A Star is born movie review: Bradley Cooper’s assured directorial debut, with honest performance by Lady Gaga.
A Star Is Born Director Bradley Cooper Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga Rating: ****(4/5)
The emotional honesty of A Star is Born, elevated by its excellent soundtrack, is comparable to any good romantic drama, far removed from the Nicolas Sparks flavor of gooey manipulative schmaltz. The film works because it acknowledges that even the most fitting piece of puzzle in love can vanish the moment barriers arise. On or off screen, it is impossible to look away from the widening fractures of two imperfect people in their devotion, and it is a dreadful experience to see the dynamics between Jackson and Ally unravel because they seem so poetically perfect for each other – one, an established artist who helps the other reach his heights of fame.
Despite its predictable story beats, by acknowledging that romance can vacillate under the burden of real conflicts, the film becomes easier to believe, although it does come with a depressing sense of real world disappointment. The final act chooses a romanticized notion of a tortured artist over common sense, but as you know finding a person deeply in love that makes logical decisions is as practical as flying saucers.
The screenplay by Eric Roth, Will Fetters and Cooper carries a mood of focused journalism, as we watch the characters mushroom in their relationship, defined mainly by broad strokes and otherwise shallow highlights of what it means to be together. Cooper’s direction leaves entire scenes in the hands of him and Lady Gaga, who do a commendable job carrying the weight of their characters’ decisions, burdened with being lost in the tornado of trust that what they feel for each other will conquer any problems. Cooper believably captures the twinkle of new love – his long haired broken Jesus-like persona and Gaga’s honest performance will have you flinch at every heated battle that erupts in the middle of them trying to make things work. Bradley Cooper originally became famous trading on his handsome features in the Hangover movies; it is easy to forget how much talent he really has. In just his first film, he has captured the essence of longing, but I am not sure I want to thank him for revealing that it could suddenly go away.