Quick Hit: Wonderfully beautiful in its portrayal of the rise and fall of a set of stars and the gravity between these celestial objects.
I’ve spent my past few years writing about films. Sometimes I hate them, but it’s rare. Fairly often, I’m presented with films that make me shrug my shoulders in apathy, despite the fact that I love film with every inch of my body. But I’m a fierce defender of movies that move me – the ones that make me want to cry, the ones that make me laugh with a deep, belly shaking cackle, the ones that make me ready to react instantly to a wrong in the world or within humanity. I say this, because though I’ve come across some beautiful movies this Oscar’s season, I can’t help but feel completely overwhelmed with feelings with A Star is Born.
Bradley Cooper has his directorial debut and stars as Jackson Maine, an old-time country rock star who is beginning to enter the twilight of his career. One night after a drunken performance, he enters a bar that is having its drag night. It’s there that he discovers Ally (Lady Gaga), a young lady who performs a rendition of La Vie En Rose. From the very moment that she comes into Jackson’s orbit, everything else falls away. Her titanic performance of the song is just the beginning of a night that is every bit as powerful as that from Before Sunrise, as Jackson and Ally traverse several bars and generally bond over music. Both have insecurities, but both are made for music with talent to spare, and the music holds a huge place in their hearts. They both write songs, and Jackson sees a kindred spirit in this young woman that is hesitant to perform because of how she looks.
tThis culminates in one of the first climaxes of the film (despite being the very next day) when Ally is flown by Jackson across the country to see his show, and is thrown into an impromptu performance of the song that she sang with Jackson the night before. He has thrown it in with some accompaniment, and it’s a beautiful song that is instantly my Best Song – it’s Shallow, written with Lady Gaga and Cooper. That moment carries so much with it, as it reflects the title – Ally’s star is born at this moment. Cooper shows the best trait he can as a director in this moment, perfectly focusing on Ally in the moment as the crowd swells up to meet her (more on this in a moment).
But it’s Gaga’s performance, full of insecurity and fear, but with energy and power thrumming under her surface, that makes Ally so compelling. She’s all of us that have ever had a talent that has remained hidden for a reason for one reason or another. Cooper also holds his own, giving a terrific performance as Maine, who struggles with monsters of his own in the form of multiple addictions that catch up to him as the story unfolds. He gives Maine a gravely voice that instantly invoked Sam Elliott, which is good, because eventually Elliott ends up on screen as Maine’s older brother/manager (thought I kept waiting for the both of them to say “Ram”).
The film unfolds in the way you expect, with Ally’s star eventually eclipsing Jack’s. But as is often true with celestial bodies – stars don’t just fade, they explode violently and brightly. This is accompanied by some truly amazing acting bits from the leads, whose chemistry can’t be denied at any moment throughout the film. I can’t say enough about how much I loved this film. I’m giving it an “A+”. Though it’s a remake of several films, it still feels fresh and new and beautiful.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"