Bradley Cooper delivers A STAR IS BORN a directorial debut in the big Hollywood style, which especially lets Lady Gaga shine in the female lead role. We’ll reveal in our review how Cooper performs alongside her as an actor and whether the well-known story also works in the fifth infusion.
The Plot Summary
The successful country star Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) has his best days behind him when he meets the reserved singer-songwriter Ally (Lady Gaga) in a bar one evening and falls head over heels in love with her. The star potential doesn’t go unnoticed by him either and so he persuades the woman, who doesn’t quite meet the ideal of beauty, to visit him at one of his performances. They perform a duet together, which then spreads virally across the Internet. From then on, Ally attracts everyone’s attention and with it the attention of the successful music producer Rez (Rafi Gavron), who offers her the opportunity to produce a record. Just a few weeks later, everyone knows her name and Ally becomes a megastar, her success being crowned with a Grammy as best newcomer. But while Ally soars inexorably towards stardom, her alcoholic husband Jackson experiences one low blow after another…
Movie explanation of the ending
It is the fifth time that someone has filmed the story of the aspiring newcomer and aging star soul; And yet Bradley Cooper’s version of “A Star Is Born”, which also marks his debut as a director, has lost none of its fascination for this classic Hollywood material. But the material is simply too exciting for that, because like some of his colleagues, from George Cukor to William Wellman and Jack Conway to Frank Pierson, Cooper also tells two stories in one in his musical drama: On the one hand, it speaks for itself The telling film title: In “A Star Is Born” a new star is emerging, embodied by Lady Gaga (“American Horror Story: Hotel”) in the US music sky, while on the other side a star that has long since passed its zenith is slowly threatening to go out. In order to achieve the greatest possible emotionality, Cooper plays himself in his debut – and anyone who has a little knowledge of the subject knows that he made it twice as difficult for himself. But when you see the finished film, this decision makes perfect sense: If “A Star Is Born” can do one thing, it is to credibly convey the great love between two people to the viewer in front of the screen. And it’s been quite a long time since we were able to take part in such a grand, almost epic love story in the cinema.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga play Jackson and Ally in the musical drama A Star Is Born.
When actors switch to directing, you can often tell from their first works who influenced them in their work. The best example of this is still Ryan Gosling’s debut “Lost River”, which, despite all its qualities, could be read primarily as a nod to the director Nicholas Winding Refn, who he admired. Cooper, who aspired to a career as a director long before his success as an actor, follows no obvious role model with “A Star Is Born”; and if you had to choose one, then the great drama cinema of the fifties and sixties, from which one of the many “A Star Is Born” predecessors also comes, would most likely come to mind. Nevertheless, this new edition is anything but outdated; on the contrary. The three screenwriters Bradley Cooper (currently working on his next script “Bernstein”), Eric Roth (“Extremely loud & incredibly close”) and Will Fetters (“The Best of Me – My Way to You”) take the well-known story and transport it coherently into the present, for example when the sudden fame begins with a viral Internet video, Ally makes an appearance on Saturday Night Live or one of the most dramatic scenes takes place at the Grammy Awards. Nevertheless, you never get the impression that “A Star Is Born” is a product of its time, because the themes it deals with remain timeless: fame, its transience and, of course, the deep love between Ally and her discoverer and later husband Jackson.
The ravishingly played relationship between Lady Gaga, who is brimming with naturalness, and Bradley Cooper, who puts himself entirely at the service of his increasingly devastated role of the alcoholic Jackson (“Serena”) is the heart of “A Star Is Born” from the first to the last second, which can be understood as both praise and criticism: the two meet each other musically (at the request of Lady Gaga herself, both sang their songs live on the set) , as well as acting on an equal level and perform close to the limit of being nominated for granted at all international film awards. In this way they can easily hide the fact that the script has some bumps when it comes to the actual topic of stardom, which make it clear that Bradley Cooper lacks the directing know-how here and there to bring such an epic story comprehensively to the screen. Even though everyone involved is clearly trying to balance Ally’s rise and Jackson’s fall narratively, Cooper keeps stealing the show from his co-star, even though it was actually about her. Since it only becomes clear how serious Jackson’s physical and mental condition really is, such scenes always give the impression of being pushed to the foreground, even if everything closes again at the end of “A Star Is Born”. finds its intended form from the beginning. That’s a shame, because the really big emotions can never really unfold, because we cut straight back to the other character when things get really dramatic for one of them.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga sang their numbers live on set.
Otherwise, the story itself isn’t exactly one of the highlights of the film, because ultimately Cooper – albeit very experienced and always striving for truthfulness – simply reels off a well-known “rags to riches” story, which in some places too remains very vague. Why it’s so easy for Ally to slip into the pop star’s mainstream costume, for example, is primarily because it’s not really clear what musical style the musician, blessed with a gifted voice, actually plays. After all, those responsible rejected the mistake of confronting the rising starlet directly with the depths of show business before publication: A scene in which Ally herself is supposed to take drugs was cut out, so that the roles of the rising star and the relegated one are played remain clearly distributed until the end. Finally, we still have to look at the audiovisual design. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique (“mother!”) always stays very close to his protagonists and thereby creates a tremendous intimacy that he does not lose even in the concert scenes. They stand or fall with the fantastic performances of Lady Gaga, who once again shows what she is capable of singing. The duet with Bradley Cooper is just the start of at least two more ballads that will sooner or later bring tears to your eyes. And this woman lends class and recognition value to even the most calculated pop number with her unmistakable voice.
Conclusion: “A Star Is Born” works excellently as a poignant love story with spectacular musical numbers, but new director Bradley Cooper has (still) gone a little further with the actual story of the rising starlet, at whose side the aging mentor gradually perishes .
“A Star Is Born” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from October 4th.