Review: A STAR IS BORN (2018)

“A Star Is Born” Shines through with Excellent Filmmaking and Music

 

By Liz Lopez

Rating: A

I recall the 1976 version of “A Star is Born,” starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, but I don’t recall the entire story to be able to compare it to director Bradley Cooper’s new feature film, based on the screenplay he wrote with Eric Roth and Will Fetters. Even without viewing any of the three prior iterations of this story as far back as the 1930s, Cooper and the rest of the filmmaking team have created an outstanding more present day story that both film and music fans alike will fall in love with as do the two leading stars. It may be too soon to say, but Cooper’s great work as a director should make a few of the lists for the upcoming awards seasons programs. The new script has a very real emotion to it and the viewer can easily believe this is a real romance, as well as it captures the complicated life of stardom and celebrity. The performances are magnetic and the supporting cast is diverse and excellent.

Bradley Cooper, stars as Jackson Maine, an older established rock ‘n’ roller who has lead the hard life with drinking and other substances, yet still has a draw with his audience. Making her film debut is Lady Gaga as Ally, a regular working girl who lives with her dad, Lorenzo (Andrew Dice Clay). She is also a singer-songwriter and her Dad believes in her talent, but she lacks a bit of self confidence after some negative feedback from the music industry to date.

Jackson looks rough around the edges and although he still has screaming fans at his concerts, he is quickly sensing he is on his way out for various reasons, including a medical one or two, but he presses on.  As he seeks another drink after a concert, he selects a bar and amidst the regular clientele, he hears a young lady and is quickly taken by her voice and performance. Ramon (Anthony Ramos, “Patti Cake$” and “Monsters and Men”), Ally’s close friend, facilitates an introduction backstage and it is not long before they become partners. Ally has a passion and gift for songwriting and that is something that Jackson knows will lead her to success.

As is expected, Ally’s talent is quickly recognized and Rez (Rafi Gavron, “Bones, TV series”) swiftly steps in to offer his services as a manager. She agrees to his terms and her career takes off.

Bobby (Sam Elliott) plays Jackson’s older brother and road manager for years. Tired of keeping up with Jackson’s issues all these years, he is ready to walk out. Their past includes a drunken father.

One scene that I will not soon forget is the conversation between Rez and Jackson towards the latter part of the film. No spoilers, but it sure is emotional as you see the pain in Jackson’s eyes.

There seems to be a recurrent theme of “the old ways” and “the new ways.” I am so glad that Bradley Cooper did not did not shy away from “the old” and created such a “new” version of “A Star is Born.”

Additional cast among the many are: Dave Chappelle, Rebecca Field, Michael Harney, Shangela Laquifa Wadley and William Belli.

The film is rated R and has a running time of 135 minutes. The film is in theaters October 5, 2018.

Source: Warner Bros.

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