An Old Hollywood Tale About Fame And Authenticity: "A Star is Born" Review

A beautiful heartbreaking rendition of a classic. Seriously, bring handkerchiefs. The movie tells the tragic love story between Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a decadent rock star, and Ally Campana (Lady Gaga), an ascending pop star. Directed by Bradley Cooper himself, he relished on the fact that he’d be able to offer his own perspective to this old Hollywood tale. From 1937, to 1954, to 1976, and now, to 2018, there have been many takes on this story. The first three versions have some things in common that the last one doesn't: the main one may be the fact that, unlike the other versions, Jackson Maine is not jealous of Ally’s success.

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Let's get out of the shallow now, shall we?

They meet by chance when Ally is singing “La Vie En Rose” at a drag bar, a homage to Edith Piaf, who made that song famous around the world. Maine, having just gotten off stage, is looking for more alcohol to get through the night and, after seeing her perform, asks her to spend the rest of the night with her. Ally actually sees Jackson for who he truly is behind the rock star facade and he’s completely enamored with her. They bond through their music, fall in love and he asks her to come sing with him on stage, which seems to fuel the battered singer with newfound energy. And gives Ally the chance she’s always wanted, but never got. You can see Bradley Cooper himself explaining the couple’s first encounter here.

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Their relationship grows and slows down Jackson’s self destructive habits while it launches Ally into stardom. All the while talking about the image we show to people, specially when we’re famous. Maine is completely wrecked on the inside and is actually losing his hearing, but hides everything and acts the role of adored musician to the masses, and Ally’s producer immediately changes things about her appearance and music after she gets signed with a record label. Behind the love story, there’s a discussion about the monetization of art and what it does to an artist’s authenticity. “Talent comes everywhere”, Jackson tells Ally, “but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that's a whole other bag”. He practically begs Ally the whole time for her to stay true to herself and her music.

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With talks about the movie getting nominations as Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Song and more, making Oscar history, this may turn out to be one of the best movies of the year. Lady Gaga goes all natural to become Ally, this incredibly talented musician who’s insecure about her appearance, someone who started off as a worker at a bar, living with her father – and his co-workers – while singing, songwriting and not being able to pursue her dreams. Being involved with the music industry herself, her getting this job was a match made in heaven. Gaga proves she’s able to do anything with excellence, truly a complete artist.

Bradley Cooper went all out to bring Jackson Maine to life in a very realistic way, he went to a vocal coach to practice talking with a deeper tone of voice (inspired by Sam Elliot, who plays Jackson’s brother in the movie), learned how to sing, play piano and guitar. He also put to test all the knowledge about directing he acquired over the years doing a remarkable job for his first time in the director’s chair.

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The story also brings up the importance of having a friend in your life, from the very beginning you'll be able to see Ramon, Ally's friend. Anthony Ramos plays the loyal person that helped his friend before, during and after her way to becoming a star. He introduced Jackson and Ally, was her fan before stardom, gave the little push that made her go on stage the first time, and so much more.

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The songs in the movie were written by Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Lukas Nelson (who ended up playing a member of Jackson’s band in the movie) and DJ White Shadow. Most of the songs were actually recorded live on set, some were even written during filming and they range from rock with country roots songs and pop songs. “Shallow” is teased in the beginning of the movie and the moment it is performed for the first time by Jackson and Ally is incredibly powerful and pivotal as it sets in motion Ally’s story. Amongst a list of great songs, some of the best are “Maybe It’s Time”, performed by Cooper, and “I’ll Never Love Again”, performed by Gaga at the end of the movie.

“A Star is Born” is definitely worth a watch whether you love romances, beautiful stories or music, the whole movie exudes talent. And, if you don’t believe us, watch the trailer and try not to get chills from it.