So I’ve gotten a request to talk about this film and I decided, “ehh, why not?” I was going to check it out anyways even with life getting in the way. Anyways, the topic of this post. The film I’m going to be talking about is the fourth remake of the 1937 film A Star Is Born, which was about a veteran movie actor who helps kickstart the career of a young aspiring actress and they both fall in love. It was first remade into a 1954 musical starring Dorothy herself, Judy Garland. Then, it was remade again in 1976 as a rock musical starring Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand. I didn’t hear good things about that adaptation, so I skipped it. There’s even a Bollywood remake in 2013 called Aashiqui 2. And now we’re on the fourth remake that just came out this year. This is A Star Is Born (2018).
Jackson Maine is a famous singer-songwriter who’s past his prime and is struggling with alcoholism. He discovers an aspiring singer named Ally who he decides to bring on tour and put her on the map. Soon, a romance sparks between the two and as Ally’s career starts rising, complications between the two arise. This is one of those stories that we’ve seen a bunch of times before in other films and series involving music careers and whatnot, but thanks to strong performances and emotional weight, it doesn’t really matter because it did what it intended to do. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, am I right?
This is Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut and he also stars in the movie as Jackson Maine, a jaded veteran musician in the industry who spends his days drinking and doing shows. This is a guy who has issues all the way back to his childhood which would be revealed later on in the movie and be a catalyst of what happens in the end. I’m used to Bradley Cooper doing comedies, but this film shows that he can be a really good dramatic actor. Alongside him is Lady Gaga as Ally, who works as both a waitress and a singer at a drag bar, hoping to make it big in the music industry. Gaga shows she’s not just a great singer and music artist, but she’s also a great actress as well, bringing the same presence that she has when she’s making music and putting it here. Both Cooper and Gaga have great chemistry with one another as their relationship goes through many ups and downs. Sam Elliott plays Bobby Maine, Jackson’s manager and older brother (even though with the huge age gap between Elliott and Cooper, the former is old enough to be the latter’s father). It’s great to see him because he’s a really good actor. Dave Chappelle is also in this movie, playing an old friend of Jackson. Also in the movie is Andrew Dice Clay as Ally’s father. There’s even a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” cameo from Halsey. Yep. That happened.
Since this IS a musical, let’s talk about the music. Most of the songs fall into the country/roots rock category (with a few exceptions) and they progress the story and let us know what’s on the mind of our main leads. Some highlights include Shallow, Always Remember Us This Way, and the final song at the end I’ll Never Love Again. And this is the perfect transition to the emotions of the film. Going into the relationship, Jackson is still carrying heavy weight that Ally has to deal with while making a name for herself. Making things worse is when Ally meets a music producer who offers her a contract and she becomes a huge pop star, much to the dismay of Jackson, whose alcoholism gets worse and worse to the point where during a telecast of the Grammys where Ally won the award of Best New Artist, Jackson pisses himself on stage. Afterwards, he’s sent to rehab, where we find out why he’s been in a downward spiral. If you’re familiar with the other versions of A Star Is Born, you already know what happens at the end, so let’s talk about it. Jackson commits suicide while Ally’s on tour. She didn’t take the news well, but she soldiered on and during a tribute concert, she performs I’ll Never Love Again as a tribute to the man she married and it’s a powerful scene. Gaga just nails this performance. You believe her sadness, which is made stronger by the fact that Gaga recorded this song after finding out a friend of hers passed away.
I give A Star Is Born (2018) a 9/10. I’m glad I caught this one because it’s a really good movie with actors giving their all to their roles, the emotional drama feels real and authentic, it’s shot pretty well, and we get some great music out of it as well. For a first time director, Bradley Cooper knocked it out of the park and he has potential as a director. It’s probably the best adaptation of the original 1937 film, taking key elements of that film and bringing a different, modern perspective of it. If you’re someone who enjoys these kinds of musicals with heavy drama, I think it’s worth checking out. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got Oscar nominations or win some, it’s that kind of movie.