A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born Trailer

Rating: 5/5

With Clint Eastwood previously attached to direct and Beyoncé set to star, the latest adaptation of A Star Is Born has been stuck in development hell for a number of years. After another setback, leading man Bradley Cooper took the helm as director, with Lady Gaga confirmed in the female leading role, and the film finally went into production.

A Star Is Born is a modern update of its previous incarnations and tells the story of waitress and aspiring singer Ally, whose path crosses with country music star Jackson Maine. As Jackson takes her under his wing, the two fall in love and soon Ally’s star is on the rise. But with Ally’s career flourishing and Jackson’s on the wane, his addictions and jealousy threaten to derail their relationship. Can love save them or will Jackson’s destructive behaviour tear them apart?

A Star Is Born is an incredible film that is in turns hilarious, shocking and heartbreaking, mainly due to the raw and immersive performances from Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Cooper is almost unrecognisable as alcoholic Jackson and Lady Gaga is a revelation as rising star Ally. The chemistry between the two is electric and their portrayal of the romance between the unlikely pairing is so convincing and honest. In what are career-defining roles, the authenticity between the pair can be attributed to both stars co-writing much of the soundtrack, with the film clearly a labour of love from all involved. Cooper especially must be commended for his directorial debut and his co-writing of the script, which offers an emotional punch that is sure to leave even the most cynical viewer reeling.

The film offers a sharp and acute insight into the music industry, a world where women are often moulded to a certain image, with the story exploring the conflict of retaining an artist’s integrity over commercial success. The musical element of the story is enhanced by live vocal performances from Cooper and Gaga, who insisted on avoiding lip-synched performances. The film contains fantastic visual set pieces that include performances at festivals such as Glastonbury and Coachella, as well as during Lady Gaga’s Joanne tour at The Tour Stop in Los Angeles, California on August 9th 2017.

As well as being a compelling love story, A Star Is Born highlights the tragic effects of addiction and mental health and explores whether love can ever be enough to save someone. It is a heart-breaking story that is painfully real yet also beautiful to watch, due to such incredible performances from Cooper and Gaga.

A Star Is Born is sure to sweep the board during film awards season in the months to come and its success will certainly be justified. The film is garnering glowing reviews and, with a fantastic soundtrack, it’s a strong contender for one of my favourite films this year.


mother! Trailer

 ***Minor Spoilers***

 Rating: 4/5

mother! is the latest film from Darren Aronofsky, whose previous work includes the Oscar winning Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. It stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple whose home is described as “paradise”. Lawrence plays the role of the dutiful young bride eager to please her significantly older husband and spends her days renovating their house, while Bardem’s character looks for inspiration for his next piece of poetry. The film opens with a foreboding tone that fails to be dispelled, particularly when their apparent idyllic lifestyle is interrupted by some unwanted visitors.

Michelle Pfeiffer makes a welcome return to the screen in her role as the wife of the first visitor, played by Ed Harris. Pfeiffer appears to be having a career renaissance this year with a part in the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express still ahead in a few months time. In mother!, she plays her character with menacing relish, particularly when she quizzes her hosts on their family plans. When the sons of the invading couple arrive, events take a sinister twist and all is not what it seems…

To say any more about the plot of the film would be a disservice to the unassuming viewer, as the less known about mother! the better. The revelations that unfold during the course of the movie are what makes the film so compelling and divisive. With Lawrence herself describing the film as a “love/hate” type of movie, it’s not difficult to understand what she means after viewing the film. Despite the premise of the movie appearing to be a psychological thriller or horror, the final act takes an unexpected turn before a truly shocking climax that will render many viewers speechless.

The subtext in the film may be lost on some viewers, yet is a clever Biblical allegory that will be analysed for many years to come. Aronofsky delivers a visually stunning piece of cinema that serves as a metaphor for events that shape our world today and poses many questions about society and humanity. His bold vision will have many viewers questioning everything that they have just watched, yet for others the pieces all fall into place during the final reel. The director provides hints and clues throughout the film, with its subtle layers gradually being revealed through the eyes of Lawrence’s character. As the story is portrayed from Lawrence’s perspective, the viewer is often given the sense of the possibility of an unreliable narrator. It is only by paying close attention and observing every detail that the viewer will be able to unlock the true mystery within the movie. Every line is delivered with meaning, which is only fully realised upon watching the complete film. The significance of each nuance demands repeated viewings of this film for further study.

In a time of reboots, sequels and series, it is refreshing to see such a unique piece of cinema. mother! is not be a film that everyone will enjoy, yet will make for so many topical discussions and debates for the unforeseeable future. Aronofsky succeeds in creating a story that makes the viewer think and consider their own actions, demonstrating the immense power of cinema.

Have you seen mother!? Did you love it or hate it? I’d love to discuss the film further, so please do get in touch!