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.