Under Review: A Star is Born
By Margot Sobota
Due to the compelling previews, I went into A Star is Born with an optimistic mindset. Ever cautious of remakes, I felt doubtful that this fourth adaptation of the film could merit an abundance of creative prowess. Nonetheless, I reasoned that with Lady Gaga’s vocal excellence and Bradley Cooper’s overall appearance, what could go wrong? As it turns out, very little can mess that up. The incredible performances of Lady Gaga as Ally Campana and Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine leave audiences speechless. Furthermore, Bradley Cooper’s film enthralls viewers with a bittersweet combination of mournfulness and sanguine acceptance.
As I watched the first couple minutes of this cinematic melodrama, my first thought was: is that really what Lady Gaga looks like? When I think about Lady Gaga, I picture one thing: meat dress. I know that she has not adorned herself in cold cuts in quite some time. Still, I was not used to seeing her sport such a subdued appearance. Yet, when she punches an ignorant police officer in the beginning of the movie I soon realized that her Ally character is anything but docile. Truly, Lady Gaga is gorgeous as a brunette and she possesses an amazing singing voice. In addition, she also appears to be gifted as an actress. The compassion and undying love that Lady Gaga’s character feels for her husband, Jack, is tangible. Her performance exudes a confidence that pairs well with that of Bradley Cooper, who captivates the audience with his persona as a struggling alcoholic on the fringes of his career as a singer. Overall, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper excel in their roles.
Having no prior knowledge of the storyline, I had no idea what to expect. From the previews I knew that Ally is essentially an amateur singer whose romance and collaboration with Jackson Maine propels her into stardom. While watching this narrative happening on the screen, however, I found myself wondering where the plotline was going. An hour and a half in, the motif of Ally rising to fame and Jack descending into depression and addiction seemed to continue to no end. In this seemingly endless continuation, the nuances of their relationship prodded at the stereotype of female success destroying male pride in heterosexual relationships.
While touching on these nuances, Ally and Jack’s relationship blossoms and prospers only to then descend into disarray, and then to flourish once again while leaving the audience anxious for a climactic end. And, ultimately, that climactic end stunned me and the audience into somber devastation. After witnessing Ally sing “I Will Never Love Again” with tears and anguish in her eyes, I suffered with her as she clings to her singing career after losing her soulmate. I see the destruction of their relationship as a cautionary tale to all relationships in which success is unbalanced. Ultimately, Cooper’s narrative demonstrates that the glamour of fame and imminent shame can impede one’s ability to act as a supportive member of any relationship.
In all, A Star is Born captivates with wonderous performances by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper as they revitalize the rise-to-fame narrative. The story ultimately haunts the audience with notions of success, addiction and suicide. The destruction of Ally and Jack’s relationship by the all-encompassing allure of fame causes viewers to leave this film feeling that materialistic obsession acts as an impediment to love and compassion.