A Star Is Born


(spoiler free)

Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut ‘A Star Is Born’ marks the third remake of the original 1937 film. Starring himself and Lady Gaga in the leading roles the film follows famous musician, Jackson Maine (Cooper) as he discovers Ally (Gaga), a singer songwriter struggling to make it in the music industry. So would this musical remake be able to hit the cinematic high notes or simply end up out of tune with contemporary audiences?

The film skillfully updates its story for its modern viewers embracing todays culture in so many different ways. It offers an interesting discussion on the manufacturing of musicians by and for the industry and plays with the idea of authenticity versus commercialism in a engaging and thought provoking way. However these are largely secondary elements to appreciate from the narrative as it’s the central relationship between Jackson and Ally and with their music which proves most compelling. As a whole the narrative starts very strong and quickly gains momentum thanks to its comedic and exciting content peaking with the first full version of ‘Shallow’ heard in the film’s trailer. After this goosebump inducing musical interlude the film isn’t as consistent with its pace. The narrative’s more complex content makes this difficult and as a result isn’t quite as engaging as the film’s brilliant beginning. However, Cooper and co. bring it back as everything comes together really well in the end providing a fitting and emotive finale for this powerhouse of a project.

Often a musical is only as good as its songs, and if you’re to judge the film solely on this ‘A Star Is Born’ is excellent. It’s no surprise with such a talent as Lady Gaga attached to the film. All of her musical performances are incredible, showcasing her amazing talent so well. However, she brings an added level of performance to these moments as she’s performing as her character Ally and not herself. She manages this expertly telling the story of the film as well as contributing her astonishing vocals to the soundtrack. What’s maybe more surprising though is just how great Bradley Cooper is in these moments too. His talent as a musician I’m sure will be unknown to most but you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’d been playing huge gigs all around the world for his whole life. Their voices blend so well together and their musical chemistry really is the beating heart of the film. Music aside though both lead stars are superb in their respective roles too with Gaga stripping herself of all the glitz and madness of her usual persona reinventing herself for this role and Cooper bringing a raw portrayal of romance and addiction against the backdrop of fame in spectacular fashion.

‘A Star Is Born’ is such an appropriate name for this film, it’s obviously applicable to the story but to both of it’s lead stars too. Of course both are already stars in their own right but with what they have achieved here, Cooper’s directing and Gaga’s leading performance, we are hopefully witness to the birth of a whole new stage in both of these artists already remarkable careers. Consequently this is a remake well worth your time and one that could and should be celebrated across the board come awards season. 

Written by Hamish Calvert

Rating – 8.5/10

Question: What is your all time favorite song from a film musical?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)

Thanks for reading this review and please let us know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.

  Thanks to Movie House Cinemas for screening access



3 thoughts on “A Star Is Born

  1. Cool review yo, I think you are one of only a few people I’ve heard talking about pacing issues in the film. While I was a little surprised by the runtime, I didn’t feel any pacing issues in the film at all. I guess I was just so immersed in the game that I didn’t notice. I thought the film was brilliant and way better then I could have expected. Once I saw the trailer for the first time a little while ago, I was on board, but this film was just on another level especially being a 3rd remake and a directorial debut for Bradley Cooper.

    The story was very engaging, felt like an emotional rollercoaster and there were so many special moments that were so subtle or huge that made the film dare I say magical. I loved the chemistry between Cooper and Gaga and their performances were incredible, and the soundtrack was SO good that I wanted to buy as soon as the film ended.

    1. Yeah I have seen most completely praising the film with their full adoration. I can’t say I loved the film but I really enjoyed it and think it’s a very well made movie. You’re so right about the soundtrack, I still haven’t bought it yet and to be honest my life doesn’t quite feel complete at the minute haha

  2. Thanks for the review. Films like A Star is Born are often quite predictable and so seemed this to be as well. Fortunately it took quite a curve until the end. The characters also evolve wonderfully through the film. But the chemistry between the characters is what makes this film so great. Especially I think, the chemistry between the main character Jackson Maine and his manager big brother, Cooper and Sam Elliott. Of course, the chemistry works between Cooper and Gaga as well, but that’s quite obvious relationship anyway. Points to Dave Chappelle as well. Though I didn’t know it was him, until I read about it afterwards! 😀

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