‘A Star Is Born’ Is Anything But Shallow

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‘A Star Is Born’ Is Anything But Shallow

Jack Julow, Writer

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Once the obvious Oscar frontrunner, A Star Is Born has seemed to falter on its quest for Academy Awards. After hearing star Lady Gaga’s story of the hundred people in the room, many critics have disdained the film as weak and bland Oscar bait. Since it’s been months since I first saw the film back in October when buzz was positive, I decided to revisit the tragic love story of Ally and Jackson Maine. In rewatching it, I realize how phenomenal Cooper’s directorial debut truly is once more.

The film opens up with Jackson Mane (Bradley Cooper) performing drunk at a concert, then afterwards he ends up at a gay bar where Ally (Lady Gaga) is performing. They look into each other’s eyes and begin a romantic relationship. Ally joins Jack on tour and she skyrockets to fame, while Jack’s alcoholism worsens as his life crumbles throughout the film. As the film progresses, tragedy ensues in one of the most beautiful films I have had the privilege to see on screen.

Cooper and Gaga captured lightning in a bottle with their on-screen romance that undeniably features some of the best chemistry done on film. Cooper’s direction focuses on the awkward, lovely moments to build an intimate relationship which makes the ending all the more tragic. Gaga shines brightly in a role that begins quite reserved as the introverted Ally grows confidence; Gaga has the rare ability to make her singing scenes both performance and role-friendly. So often I watch a famous singer act in a film, but they sing as themselves and lose their character. Sam Elliott as Cooper’s older brother adds an authenticity that makes Cooper’s Mane more realistic, but also elucidates the fact that Cooper is doing a great Sam Elliott impression. Every performance is well acted, but it truly is the chemistry between the two leads that make A Star Is Born impactful.

The soundtrack for the film features some of the best music I’ve heard for a while, yet not copying Gaga’s signature sound. “Shallow” is lyrically brilliant and phenomenally performed in the film’s greatest scene when the duo perform together — no wonder it’s a shoe-in for Best Original Song at the Oscars. The film’s cinematography is well-done along with a tight screenplay. Although it becomes pretty clear that Cooper became a bit of a scene hog and wrote Ally in a way that came off a bit selfish, the script’s few hiccups do not make the film terribly awful. Cooper’s directing choices are bold in his debut feature. The decision for him to quietly finish the film’s ending song “I’ll Never Love Again” instead of Gaga’s powerful belting ends the film on a real note, unlike Hollywood’s typical brash closings. I remained crying in my seat the first time I saw the film in theater, and I still cried excessively the last time I watched it.

A Star Is Born’s message is important and well executed. Most films falter dealing with complex themes that Cooper willing chooses to include, but every scene possesses compassion and astute observations. The villain is not a single person, it’s the addict sadly enough. Addiction is a terrible thing and A Star Is Born carefully brings it to the silver screen to tell an honest truth without glamourising it all — quite a feat in my opinion.

Please, I beg you to watch this film. A Star Is Born is available on digital and Blu-Ray.

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