There are few films that manage to make me cry. Sure, when I see a film like The Fault In Our Stars, I get emotional. But a film has to be truly special in order to make me feel things long after the credits rolled. I never thought I would ever see a film like that. Until I watched A Star Is Born. I knew the previous versions of the film were tragic love stories, but I knew nothing about the new version, except that it starred Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. I was in for one hell of an emotional ride. The buzz around this film is justified. But let’s take a look at what makes this remake so special.
What is it about?
RottenTomatoes says the following:
Bradley Cooper plays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers–and falls in love with–struggling artist Ally (Gaga). She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer… until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.
A love story like this only works if the leads have such chemistry that you can just feel it in your gut while watching the film. Cooper and Gaga definitely check that box. From the early moments in the film when Cooper’s Jackson stares at the unknown Abby for the first time is just magical. Whenever these two are on screen together, they are truly magical. There was not a single moment when I doubted the authenticity of the couple. It is very rare for an on-screen romance to be so convincing.
Cooper is excellent in his role as the troubled rock-star. His portrayal of the character’s struggles and seemingly climb-back to sobriety is heartbreaking. When you take into account that Cooper also directed the film and helped co-write many of the songs, you just want to throw all the awards at him. But he alone could not make this film work. Gaga also gives a stellar performance. While we got to know her ten years ago as the outrageous pop diva, there is no trace of that here. She manages to give a convincing performance as the ordinary girl with a dream and equally convinces when Abby becomes a pop star overnight.
Gaga has seen both sides of the coin, so it is not surprising that she knew how to handle this. When you’re watching her on screen, there is not a single moment when you see Lady Gaga. That is how much of a convincing actress she is. When she laughed, the audience laughed. When she cried, all of us were in tears. Those are the markings of a true actress. Her talent was in safe hands with Cooper. It takes a lot of trust to make a film like this. One that is so focused on the characters and the story. It all works and it all works because of the magic between them.
The couple’s strong chemistry made it easy to fall in love with them. All of the characters, not only Cooper’s and Gaga’s, were flawed and therefore felt authentic. A Star Is Born is not easy to watch and that is exactly what it wants to accomplish. By the end of it, the entire theater was in tears. The final scenes were especially confrontational and made it uneasy to keep watching. While perhaps a trigger warning would not have been a luxury, the film did well executing the tougher scenes in a respectful way.
That said, another strong point are the fantastic songs. Seriously, the soundtrack was amazing and seamlessly wove into the story, while it still felt like these characters and their music were truly real. Shallow and I’ll Never Love Again especially hit home. It is such an amazing accomplishment by all parties involved.
A day after watching A Star Is Born, I still found myself on the verge of tears. I couldn’t listen to the soundtrack yet, as it only made me feel more emotional. This is a film that deserves to be royally rewarded at the Academy Awards. Lady Gaga was truly a standout. Her confidence yet fragility on screen was what made her so beautiful and dazzling to watch. All in all, I have nothing but praise for this film and its stars, but I guess it will take a while before my heart is healed enough to watch it again.