You may have noticed a trend in which I’ve been watching a lot of movies recently released on DVD that I wanted to see in the theater.
A Star Is Born is yet another example of one such movie.
I should start by mentioning that I haven’t seen any of the previous iterations of this film. I have no idea how much it stuck to the source material, nor did I have an inkling as to how it would end.
More on that in a minute.
Here’s what I do know: I loved this movie. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I loved this movie. On paper, I should just like this movie, not love this movie. The story is not original (I mean that figuratively, but you could also take it literally). The romance between Jack and Ally is not, on the surface, especially unique. The ending of the film isn’t even breaking new ground.
So why did a story I’ve seen so many times before mean so much to me?
The answer to that is Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are absolutely the reason this movie struck such a chord with me. I believed in their characters’ relationship. I found myself inextricably emotionally tethered to both of them. I cared about their health, I cared about their careers, I cared about them.
I generally like both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, but they are not sure-fire hits with me on any project they release. This isn’t a blind faith kind of thing. They had to win me over with A Star Is Born, and they did. Oh, boy. Did they ever.
I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but the general plot is that Cooper’s character, Jack, a nationally revered musician, happens across Gaga’s character, Ally, in an unlikely place. A connection instantly forms, followed by a friendship. Jack is impressed with Ally’s vocals, so he invites her up on stage with him. From there, you guessed it–a star is born. Their friendship quickly (very quickly) becomes romantic, and the case could probably be argued that they both experienced love at first sight. Ally’s career takes off on its own, Jack suffers some health issues, these two things influence their relationship and, ultimately, bring about the film’s conclusion.
Like I said, I won’t spoil it for you, but the aforementioned conclusion? It destroyed me. I’m still rattled by it.
I’ve seen both Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite, and, in my opinion, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga gave much stronger performances than the Best Actor and Actress winners–Rami Malek and Oliva Coleman. Not only did Cooper and Gaga act, sing, and play instruments, but they made me believe in their world in such a way that neither Malek nor Coleman achieved. They made me forget about Cooper and Gaga and see only Jack and Ally. Cooper and Gaga made me invest at such a deep level that they provoked a potent emotional response.
My only complaint about A Star Is Born is the pacing of the film. I realize this can be a little difficult due to time constraints, but I never got a great sense of how much time passed within the duration of the film. As a result, everything felt like it happened really quickly. Their relationship, Ally’s rise to fame–it seemed to occur within months. I realize this can’t possibly be the case, but the film never quite indicated the span of time between important moments.
This small complaint isn’t enough to negatively impact my opinion of the film, though. In fact, as of right now, I would pick it as the real “Best Picture” winner. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Green Book, BlacKkKlansman, Roma, or Vice, so I can’t state that as objectively as I’d like.
It’s probably obvious, but I absolutely recommend you see A Star Is Born.
(Did you enjoy this article? Check out Scott William Foley’s Dr. Nekros e-book series HERE)