Two “Stars” Reborn: A Star is Born Film Review

From advertisements on Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube to tons of social media buzz, three weeks after its release it’s hard *not* to have heard about this month’s hottest film, A Star is Born.

I saw it for the first time on Sunday night and again on Wednesday and have already committed every lyric from the soundtrack to memory.  Serving as the male lead while also juggling the duties of being the film’s director, this movie seriously begs the question: is there anything Bradley Cooper can’t do?  I know I wasn’t the only one to be completely blown away by his voice in the first scene of the film as he sings the adrenaline-pumping, jam-out inducing song “Black Eyes”, and it is remarkable that this is only the second film he has ever directed, as it’s turning out to be a smashing success.  Cooper isn’t the only lead to be successfully exploring his lesser-known talents - Lady Gaga, whose voice has captivated us for about a decade, gave a moving and convincing acting performance in one of her first major films while she wasn’t belting out breathtaking songs.  A Star is Born, a remake (of a remake, of a remake) combines two of Hollywood’s greatest creations - Lady Gaga and, of course, Bradley Cooper - in an emotionally stimulating, intense, beautiful film that is simply a must-see.  

Jackson Maine (Cooper) is a wildly famous and troubled country singer with a dangerous relationship with alcohol, who stumbles upon Ally (Gaga), an aspiring artist who pays the bills by working as a waitress and sings for enjoyment at her friend’s bar.  The two develop a romantic relationship as Jackson guides Ally into the spotlight, slowly falling out of it himself. Their story is one of rising stardom, personal struggles, and love. Everything about this film is beautifully done, from the palpable chemistry between Cooper and Gaga, to the cinematography and skillful camerawork, to the star-studded cast - besides Cooper and Gaga, this film features cameos by Dave Chapelle, Alec Baldwin, and Ron Rifkin.  Without giving any spoilers, I will say that their ability to pack many monumental events throughout Ally’s journey to stardom in just over two hours is to be commended. As the film progresses, audience members feel as if they truly know Ally, feeling joy with her many triumphs and frustration with her hardships as she acquires more fame. There is a major event towards the film’s end that completely shifts the trajectory of the film - and may likely cause some tears - and it completely changes the viewing audience’s perspectives of Ally and Jack.  With no prior warning, the ending may seem unexpected, but to those watching a second time or who know what happens, it is interesting to notice subtle hints included throughout the film giving some foreshadowing.

Of course, one of the most prominent features of this film is its unbelievable soundtrack. Bradley Cooper’s raspy rock/country vocals harmonize perfectly with Lady Gaga’s rich and powerful notes, and there are songs thrown on there for all kinds of moods - from the chills-inducing “Shallow”, complete with the roaring crowd in the background, to Ally’s catchier pop songs like “Why Did You Do That?”  These songs are not only solid jams, but great ways to relive this movie while studying for a test or even just hanging out in your room. There are plenty of spots by Laf to go see it - closest are the Regal Cinemas in Easton and in Phillipsburg, each about a ten minute drive or Uber away.  You can jam out to all of the songs on the way there - and cry to them on the way back to campus - and it’s a great way to spend a lazy Sunday with some friends.

While this year’s official Oscars nominations won’t be announced until January 22, 2019, there’s already buzz surrounding which nominations A Star is Born might receive.  While these are just theories and speculation at this point, it’s likely that it’ll cop at least a few nominations - even Judy Garland’s daughter had some words of praise for the remake of her mother’s film.  In these last few weeks before Thanksgiving break, amid stresses like exams and course registration, take two hours out of one of your days to grab some friends and go see A Star is Born - it will be well worth it.