‘A Star is Born’ stuns audience



Lady Gaga’s character, Ally, takes the mike onstage as Bradley Cooper looks on (Warner Bros. Pictures).

Liz Gremer, Reporter

Walking into the theater with little knowledge of A Star Is Born—other than the fact that it has had three Hollywood remakes—my expectations were already elevated. The latest brought a modern twist to the heartbreaking—yet classic—story of love and addiction.

The movie begins with Jackson “Jack” Maine (Bradley Cooper) playing a sold-out show, after downing a handful of pills followed with a shot. It is obvious from the beginning that Jack’s struggle with addiction will be a central part of the rest of the movie.

Enter Ally (Lady Gaga). The struggling singer/waitress catches the attention of Jack from the first time they meet. From that point onward, the duo unites. After initial flirtation between the two develops into love, Jack brings Ally with him for the remainder of his tour. As Ally continues to tour with Jack, she attracts her own following and popularity. As Ally’s stardom begins to succeed Jack’s, he begins to decline and his addiction results in his downward spiral.

Although Cooper gained celebrity status after his comedic role in The Hangover, in recent years he has dominated more serious roles in movies such as Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. These more recent roles have strengthened Cooper’s acting ability which in turn helped him masterfully play the role of a washed-up addict who has fallen in love and lost fame at the same time. It is also worth mentioning that his heartbreaking portrayal of Jack left much of the theater leaving the theater with teary eyes and tissues in hand. In addition, the film marks Cooper’s directorial debut, and he doesn’t disappoint. Subtle attention to small details about the characters made me realize how closely Cooper was involved as a director.

However, the best decision made by Cooper hands down was the casting of Lady Gaga as the leading lady. Her natural performance plagued with charm and character reinforced how she was the clear choice for Ally. Sure, any young singer could’ve sung the songs and played the role, but Gaga brought dimension and heart to the role. Gaga was the perfect fit for the role. The Oscar buzz surrounding her performance—as well as Cooper’s—is not a shocker to me because the movie is driven by the characters and their portrayals were nothing short of incredible.

As I write this review, it is worth mentioning that I am listening to the soundtrack of A Star Is Born. Although Cooper is not a trained singer, which was evident in some portions of the songs, he manages to carry the tune. Gaga steals the show with her exceptional vocals. The most catching was the soulful duo between the leads in “Shallow.” The staple song of the movie demonstrated the chemistry between the two and is referred to throughout the rest of the movie. The gentleness and sweetness between Cooper and Gaga illustrated their characters falling for each other, which made the scene even more enjoyable.

While the story can be written off as cliché or predictable, the passion Cooper and Gaga shared imparted depth to the classic Hollywood story. While it may be too early to predict, I believe that the film is destined for Oscar nominations.