Honestly, I have never been so floored by the end of a film as I was by A Star is Born. This film is not just about an alcoholic, famous country singer and the rising star he is besotted by: it is raw, hilarious and cutting.
Based on the 1937 original, which was proceeded by Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson’s iconic remake in 1976, many wondered how Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga would compare…
Gaga is iconic in this film and should be praised for her performance; Cooper should be proud of his directorial debut and powerful acting. While the film is well over two hours long, the magnificent acting by Cooper and sensational work of Gaga make you leave the theatre wanting more; to see more of their relationship, both musically and emotionally.
The film’s soundtrack is very accomplished, and Cooper’s vocals are surprisingly strong. Gaga’s voice seems stripped back and more powerful than ever as the songs, written and collaborated by a plethora of artists chiefly Lukas Nelson and Gaga, as the soundtrack effortlessly follows Jack (Cooper) and Ally’s (Gaga) blossoming relationship.
Though this film is not your typical romantic comedy, at its core it is an emotionally fraught piece about the struggle of drug, alcohol addiction, childhood trauma and the struggle to fully accept yourself. Ally and Jack meet one night when Ally is performing a French cabaret act at a drag bar; Jack stumbles in looking for a drink and is intrigued by Ally’s unique voice. The pair spends the evening together, sharing their deepest insecurities and forming a quietly intimate bond that will last throughout the film.
As an audience, you laugh and cry with Jack and Ally as they grow apart and back together, their relationship being tested by the pressure of fame and addiction. Gaga’s performance as Ally is admirable, the character is charming, strong and talented- much like Gaga herself. While Cooper presents a couple that is in the most unrelatable of situations, their relationship feels infinitely familiar. Their inside jokes, adorable dog and commitment to show up whenever the other needs them is reflective of our own most treasured relationships, which is why the end is so harrowing. I will not spoil it for you, but the ending of the film and Gaga’s song closing the film out is one of the most moving moments of a film that I have ever seen.
The discussion of mental health and addiction is handled tactfully by Cooper throughout and Gaga’s portrayal of a supportive, frustrated but ultimately loving partner is deeply relatable to anyone who themselves has cared for someone struggling with Jack’s issues.
Songs like ‘Shallow’ and ‘Maybe it’s Time’ stick with you days after watching, Cooper and Gaga’s voices becoming intertwined with the plot of the film- each replay reminding you of pertinent points within the film. Like Hamilton, the soundtrack to A Star is Born is enticing and entertaining in its own right. However, when coupled with the beautifully shot film, it transforms into a narrative that will stay with you years after hearing it.