A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper lays the triple threat by not only starring, but directing and co-writing the script for this 4th time retelling of a tragic story of love, music, and addiction. Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a superstar struggling with addiction on a downward spiral falls in love with a rising star named Ally (Lady Gaga), who is trying to make her musical mark in the world all while saving the man she loves.

One night after a show, Jackson Maine drunkenly wanders into a drag bar and becomes completely enamored with Ally’s sultry voice after she belts out La Vie En Rose. It didn’t take long to realize the vulnerability that connected the two artists. The wounded soul of Jackson’s past and Ally’s heartbreak from constant rejection by the large music companies because she doesn’t look like a Barbie doll. The following day, Jackson flies Ally to one of his shows, and invites her to sing with him on stage together. Realizing the audience loves them and the chemistry they exude on stage, it’s only makes sense for Ally to join Jackson on tour and begin making beautiful music together. The chemistry carries off stage as the two quickly fall in love, get married, all while Ally’s career begins to take off.

Ally, however, is ill-equipped to deal with Jackson’s addiction and the demands that come with being a superstar, trying to juggle home life and her career. Proud of his wife’s success and still suffering from his own demons, Jackson in the end realizes his inability to come up for air is holding her back.

Bradley Cooper has proven that he is just as talented behind the camera as he is in front of one. All the agony, the pain, raw emotions Cooper demonstrated in this character, I would be very surprised if he didn’t receive any recognition come awards season. Even with such a stellar performance by Cooper, Lady Gaga was the absolute show stopper. She commanded the audience’s attention with her voice, her quick wit, her natural realism of codependency. She was born to play Ally.

We already knew that Lady Gaga and her singing chops where going to be a major focal point in this film, but who knew Bradley Cooper could sing? Cooper, who said he flew to Seattle to consult friend Eddie Vedder, frontman for Pearl Jam, on how to “aesthetically become a musician, and all the inner workings.” The breathtaking musical performances made you feel like you were live at the concert. I almost found myself clapping at the end of a couple of numbers.

When you see a movie and find yourself just sitting there in awe as the end credits roll by, unable to move, you realized you’ve just seen magic. From the music, to the supporting characters, the editing……..every element was sheer perfection!

5 out of 5 stars

Second review by Jennifer Fiduccia

Bradley Cooper directs the new romantic drama / comedy A Star Is Born.

The film stars Bradley Cooper (Jackson Maine), Lady Gaga (Ally), Sam Elliot (Bobby, Jacksons brother & tour manager), Andrew Dice Clay (Lorenzo, Ally’s father), and Dave Chappelle (Noodles, a long-time friend of Jacksons).

The film begins with scenes of Jackson Maine at a concert, and then the aftermath of the concert where he is looking for an open bar to have a drink. His driver stops at an open bar, which happens to be a drag bar, and Jackson hears Ally sing. He is entranced, and asks her to come with him to another bar after. Ally follows and they spend the night talking about her dreams of being a singer and she says she would never make it because people always say that they like her voice, but not her looks.

This is Gaga’s second foray into acting, and she does an incredible job pulling in the audience and then holding their attention throughout the movie. Lady Gaga can act! The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga onscreen is tangible and has the viewer pulling for them to succeed as a couple, despite hardships and roadblocks.

Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine – Cooper can SING! I think I was more surprised by the fact that Bradley Cooper can ACTUALLY sing, than I was that Lady Gaga can actually act. After all, to a certain extent, being a pop / music star IS all about acting and all about how you project yourself to the masses. Cooper also delivers an outstanding acting performance and ropes the audience into the drama and excitement of being an on-the-road rock star, all wound up also in the back story of his upbringing and his relationship with his (SURPRISE!) brother Bobby.

We follow Allys meteoric rise to the top of the charts, while simultaneously following Maines fizzling career. Maines fizzle is mostly due to his own problems with drugs and alcohol, with a small part of it probably being due to his preference for keeping this simple and “old school” on tour.

The relationship between Ally and Jackson Maine also follows the curve of her career, and as she becomes more famous, her rise takes its toll on their relationship.

I was engaged through the whole movie, and definitely had a few “holy cow I didn’t see THAT coming” moments. I developed a huge dislike for Allys music manager and found myself wishing he would just disappear.

The ending was tragic and while I knew in my heart what would happen several minutes before it actually was shown on screen (again, back to wishing Ally manager would just DISSAPEAR) I kept hoping with all my heart that I was wrong. Alas, I was not.

The final scenes had me in tears as Ally spoke with Bobby, and then paid her final tribute to Jackson Maine.

I would give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. It has a great story-line, and was engaging. The music and singing were incredible and the characters all meshed well to create a believable tale of a fledgling singer and an already established star coming together to create amazing song-