A Star Is Born Review – Cooper and Gaga Shine but the Soundtrack Steals the Show
Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born may not be a brand new property, but thanks to his and Lady Gaga’s performances, it just may be the best version of this many times told dramatic love tale. Cooper is especially brilliant thanks to his directing, acting, and uncanny ability to learn how to be a musician in just 18 months time. But that’s not to say Lady Gaga is a slouch, because she brings her A-game too, and outside of a few rocky dramatic scenes, she performs admirably during the non-signing performances.
You can check out my full review of the film below in video or script form.
Hey now fans of beautiful and talented people, Matt Heywood here to review Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born, aka a really fucking sad love story with an emotionally charged soundtrack.
Before getting into the review I just want to add that I hadn’t seen the three other versions of this movie going into my screening, so I was able to take in its plot with a blank slate approach.
First and foremost, I have to mention how impressed I am with both Bradley Cooper and Lady GaGa’s performances in this film. Cooper is especially impressive when you consider he spent upwards of 18 months to learn how to sing and play the guitar, which shows in his performance of Jack Maine, a drunken, drug addicted, country/rock star who discovers a vocal powerhouse in GaGa’s Ally character.
I mean he’s so believable as a front man and musician that you’d think he’s been doing it his whole life. He easily holds his own with GaGa during the singing parts, which were all shot live by they way. I wondered if her ability to sing the fuck out of any song from her head or written for her would make Cooper look silly, but he more than pulls off his singing and guitar playing. His believability, coupled with her raw musical talent, definitely helps to sell the characters they play, and ultimately the love between them, which only fuels the emotions you can feel from this film.
On the flip side, GaGa performs admirably as an actor across from Cooper’s already Oscar-nomination-worthy skills. I wouldn’t say that her acting reached the level of Bradley’s ability to sing and play music, because at times, especially early on, a few scenes between them feel awkward due to her acting, but for the most part she holds her own and comes off as a believable character. It’s not hard to buy into her character either, because for the most part the character follows a bit of GaGa’s own path to stardom, so while she stumbles at times during dramatic moments, she still provided an emotional connection to her Ally character.
While Bradley and GaGa are easily the main draws for this version of A Star Is Born, I have to say that to me the true champion of this film is its soundtrack. This is especially evident during the first half of the film, in which Jack is courting Ally and forcing her to make a final push at a musical career. The moments between these two musicians who are in the early stages of love are highly emotional thanks to the heart-pounding, and though provoking music they make together. There are genuine beautiful and at times happy tear inducing moments early on in this film, which are a direct result of the music, and the love story being acted out by two awesomely talented stars.
I will say though that the plot takes a dark turn towards its climax, which I’m sure those of you who have seen this movie before know about, but as a noob, I wasn’t expecting things to get as depressing as they do. The magic of the first half of this movie gets vacuumed out during the second half, which sees GaGa’s Ally morphing into a Pop star while Jack takes a dark turn with his addictions.
For some reason, and I’m chalking it up to the lack of heartfelt music numbers, the later parts of this movie don’t quite have the emotional punch that the early parts do. You’re watching two lovers being tortured by one’s disease, yet I never felt the emotional gut punch that these scenes were clearly going for. Maybe it’s because the writing is on the wall of the Jack character, or maybe it is due to GaGa not being a top-notch dramatic actor, but the shit that goes down between these two late on in the movie just never feels genuine from an emotional standpoint. This in turn wipes a bit of the magic from the beautiful first half of A Star Is Born, leaving it feel a bit hollow in the end. The pacing also gets slow towards the end, which ultimately added to my slight frustration with how everything played out.
With that being said, A Star Is Born is still worth the experience thanks to its soulful soundtrack, and to see the performances of Cooper and GaGa. When I left my screening I was pleased, but not blow away, yet I found myself thinking about the movie and its characters for many hours after, so to me that’s a sign of a good film. It’s definitely a good date movie, although it gets pretty fucking sad, so if you’re dealing with marital or partner issues due to drug and alcohol abuse, you may want to go by yourself, because it features a pretty sad love story even though it starts out as being a happy one.
A Star Is Born, the Cooper/GaGa edition gets an 8.5 out of 10 review score from Team EB. I wouldn’t say it’s the best date movie, but thanks to its charming soundtrack and cast, it’s well worth a trip to the big screen.
Thanks for watching, this is Matt Heywood signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
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