“A Star is Born” Captures Hearts
Lauren Fitzgerald, Arts & Entertainment Editor
The story that A Star is Born holds is a tale as old as time. In fact, it has been told on four separate occasions: in 1937, 1954, 1976 and, now, 2018. Despite its numerous remakes, it never quite gets old. Years after Frank Pierson’s most recent adaptation with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, Bradley Cooper, who normally is in front of the camera instead of behind it, took on this reboot with full force.
A Star is Born follows the story of Jackson Maine (played by Cooper), a famous country-rock musician, who vividly struggles with substance abuse during his claim to fame. Jackson stumbles into a Hollywood drag club searching for a post-concert drink when he meets his muse, Ally Campana (played by Lady Gaga), while she sings to the tune of “La Vie en Rose” in her own drag, artificial eyebrows and all. Through their connection, Jackson learns of Ally’s remarkable musical talent and, as they fall in love, he generously hoists her career to its peak. They become the dynamic duo of country-rock before Ally gets her own break, transforming her genre and her entire life.
Ally is a tough and honest woman, but her inner shell is complicated with insecurities, ones that frequently hold her back from her dream. She has been overlooked by producers in the past for her looks and her music, causing her to constantly hide her true skin. Jackson is the first who sees her. Underneath the plastered eyebrows and colored wigs, he sees what she hasn’t even seen on her own. It’s his rigorous pushing, his constant reminders of who she truly is and his rigorous push and his aid to Ally seeing her potential that brings out the depth to his loyalty towards her.
Ally does not only take on a new role of popstar when she takes off, but also as Jackson’s sanctuary. The weight of addiction is heavy on relationships, and it noticeably takes its toll on her throughout the film. It reaches the point where his decline begins to obscure her career. Though her situation is difficult, Ally’s resilient attitude manifests itself throughout her story and keeps her moving through the motions that her life hands over. While this movie is admittedly heavy to watch, it is a passionate portrayal of love and all the real-world calamity that comes with it, landing Cooper a top-notch grade for his directorial debut.
The music is one of the most notable parts of the movie. The raw country, rock and pop ballads guide the film, and they could easily tell the whole story on their own. “Shallow” is the most eminent song, for it is Ally’s gateway to her career and the narrative to their two vastly different worlds. The duet is audience grabbing, pulling us in and keeping us invested in who they are. The film ends with a somber ballad called “I’ll Never Love Again”, queueing the waterworks from everyone. From start to end, these songs highlight the complexity and emotions of each character.
Cooper’s vision and portrayal of Jackson Maine was phenomenal, and even better was his decision of casting Gaga to take on the narrative of a popstar struggling with her own insecurity. Gaga was able to connect to Ally on a level greater than any of her other contenders, and it shows in her work. And, boy, does she have the voice.
Cooper was warned that another remake of this classic would easily flop, especially after Pierson’s revival choked. The confidence he had in his first film showed that he certainly wasn’t planning an average-joe reboot. In fact, he knew the complex story of Jackson Maine so very well, well enough to pour out his heart in to his character’s story both in his script and on the screen to create a touching masterpiece. No, A Star is Born movie was not a flop, but a knockout certainly worth everyone’s money. Both actors played their revelations in a fictional manner, bringing a tenderness to this film that is not like the past three at all.