A Star is Born kind of slipped by the wayside throughout my life. The 1976 Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson remake of the 1937 classic was just outside my scope of things when it first came out. It was too mature for a young lad of only eight-years-old, but my relatives always raved about it, so I’ve always been a little curious.
Even before this new Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga version started getting made, I located the original 1937 version and have had it sitting in my collection waiting. I wanted to start at 1937 and then work my way through the remakes – 1954 and 1976. Then Bradley Cooper came into the picture.
I was a little hesitant going to see the new remake without going through the others first, but it just looked so darn interesting. The Cooper-directed 2018 version is a stunning movie with impeccable cinematography, a magical charisma between Coop and Gaga and a delicious original soundtrack.
Both musically-inclined and internally broken, Jackson (Cooper) and Ally (Gaga) are lovers of an unshakable bond. Undoubtedly gifted yet sorely despondent, Ally is ready to abandon her dreams of becoming an artist. Fortunately, Jackson’s unbridled love won’t allow for such. In a last-ditch effort to revive her hopes, Jackson convinces Ally to continue pursuing her goals. As Ally’s musical career begins to thrive, their relationship is marred by Jackson’s conflicting emotions and toxic alcoholism.
Gaga was in fine form in her role as Ally. Mostly devoid of her outlandish costumes, crazy makeup and wild stage shows, Gaga was left virtually naked on the stage as she rose to fame as the girl with the funny looking nose and great songs. She was adorable and much more human than any of Gaga’s real music videos or press photos – instead of being the glam rock star we all know, she was the girl we’d love to take home to meet our parents. And that’s where Cooper’s Jackson comes in.
Cooper nailed his role as an aging rock star with addictions and anger issues, but deep inside there was a vulnerable man just dying to be with Ally. The only flaw in his approach was the similarities to Kris Kristofferson’s take on the lead role in the 1976 version – that iconic beard and hopelessness that dominated the original posters and press pics in the 70s.
A Star is Born is one of those must-see movies of the year. The chemistry with the cast is electric, the story is flawless and the music is a sonic treat.