Movie review: “A Star is Born” balances romance and tragedy

Posted on Oct 10 2018 - 5:50am by Kennedy Pope

The fourth and latest reboot of 1937’s “A Star is Born” opened in theaters this past weekend. Bradley Cooper, who plays the lead role of famous musician Jackson Maine, brings a grunge-rock feel to the film, which is set in present time, while bringing in a timeless love story that struggles to balance fame and fortune with alcoholism and drug abuse and leaves everyone crying in their seats.

Besides playing the lead, Cooper directed the film and co-wrote it with Will Fetters and Eric Roth.

“A Star is Born” is focused on Jackson, a country rockstar who helps a young singer named Ally (Lady Gaga) find fame while dealing with his own demons, which are sending his career into a downward spiral.

Photo courtesy: ‘A Star Is Born’ website

Cooper, with a haggard voice and disheveled appearance, persuasively plays the role of a struggling alcoholic and drug abuser. Cooper interprets his character in a way audiences have never seen him before. Together with Lady Gaga, he plays guitar and sings throughout the movie, and the soundtrack’s standout song, “Shallow,” is currently the number one song on iTunes.

The realism of Gaga’s performance stems from similarities between her life and that of her character. Gaga has said before that, growing up, she struggled with being made fun of for her appearance, and her character Ally experiences these same problems and learns how to overcome them in the movie.

The movie begins when Jackson, in need of a drink after his show, walks into a drag bar where struggling artist Ally is singing Edith Piaf’s 1945 song “La Vie En Rose.” From the very first look, it’s clear he is smitten.

As their feelings collide, so do their musical talents. They write a song together in the middle of the night, and Jackson invites Ally on stage to perform the new song with him at his show the next day. By the next day, the song goes viral, and everyone wants to know who the new hit singer is with Jackson Maine. Ally lands a record deal that changes her world forever but also puts a hardship on her relationship with the rockstar.

The nearly two and a half hour-long film is divided in two parts, where the first half of the film is focused on the excitement of new love. When Ally’s career takes over in the second half, Jackson Maine takes a backseat, and the film shifts away from what made the first half so intriguing.

In an interview with People TV, Cooper said that he knew for sure this movie was a go after singing with Gaga one day in her home. He also said that there are several things for the viewer to take away from this new movie about trauma and what it means to have someone by your side.