Summary: A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
Cast and Characters. We meet a few people along the way in the film, but I’ll stick to the two main people, though I want to give Anthony Ramos a shout out because I always get excited when I see people from Hamilton in other things.
Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine. He is an established singer-songwriter, not sure how long he’s been in the business but it’s clear he’s been doing it a long time to the point where he’s jaded and of course an alcoholic. He stumbles into the first bar he sees one night (well his driver dropped him off) and he gets to see Ally perform a song in French and he is immediately taken. He becomes a mentor for her and later the love interest. Jackson has a lot of issues, daddy issues, self-issues and all the other issues but he does care about Ally and really does try to do right by her, especially at the beginning. I give him credit for that. I don’t think he’s unlikable, but I can see why someone might not like him, I just thought he was sad and kind of a tragic figure. Bradley Cooper did a really good job with him. He surprises me when he’s playing a serious role, I don’t know why lol, but anyway, he did well with keeping Jackson right at the corner of “I like him, he’s sad” or “Wow, this guy is a dick” which works for his character. Great expression in his eyes. *sighs* His eyes. Beautiful. I really thought he shone in the second half.
Lady Gaga as Ally. She is a waitress who sings in a Drag Queen nightclub. She is a singer-songwriter who is pretty much amazing at what she does. Ally performs a song in French “La Vie en Rose” I think and pretty much has Jackson by his heartstrings when she lays on the bar counter and looks at him (I never realized how big and green her eyes are… eyes are kind of a big thing in the movie as Bradley Cooper as the director, kept a lot of the shots close in on the actor’s faces so we get to see their eyes quite a bit in the film). She loves to sing and write songs but is a bit discouraged after she was told she had a beautiful voice but her nose was too big, so when Jackson believes people would want to hear her, needed to hear her, she’s against it at first but once she gets out there, it becomes something she craves plus she’s great at it. Ally is sweet, and she understands how to handle Jackson, but she does get a little lost in the industry later. I thought Lady Gaga was good, this is the first time I’ve seen her act and I thought she was the highlight of the film, the star and I liked that Bradley Cooper gave her top billing. All the emotional stuff she handled well, and I was impressed.
The Music. The highlight of the movie is the music, how it’s used and the connection that people have through the music. First, the singing is fantastic, Lady Gaga can SING. We knew this, but this movie really allows her to showcase her singing chops and whenever she did sing, especially in the beginning of the movie, I got chills. Honest. Bradley Cooper also surprisingly can sing as well. I guess his character sings country or something along those lines which I thought he did well and when they sang together, obviously she overpowered him, but he held his own. As for the songs themselves, the only one I really remember is the “Shallow” one because it’s catchy and I feel like it’ll be nominated for “Best Original Song” which is cool but I think they used those songs as ways to connect moments in the movie, or connect characters, it wasn’t just characters singing songs (until ya know, the generic pop songs later). Definitely the highlight.
The First Half. I prefer the first half. It’s much stronger and better paced than the second half. I really wondered for a while if it was because the first half was lighter than the second and I decided that’s not the reason, I just think the story flowed better in the first half, the characters were more interesting and the story had the chance to go in an original direction but didn’t so first half is definitely stronger. Plus, all of the stuff with his brother, they had a great moment (No idea what they said half the time lol, but it was an emotional moment).
Chemistry. Like I said previously, I think the first half is stronger than the second half. I thought that Gaga and Cooper had amazing chemistry. The first moment he saw her singing in that Drag Club and she looked over at him, it was like “whoa” and I was on board for what I was sure going to be an interesting relationship and indeedy it was. I really liked how they seemed to understand each other on a different level. They have a conversation outside of a mini-mart and he’s telling her a bit of his story and she just makes up a song verse for him. Throughout the movie, we see a lot of moments between them, I mean crazy stuff ensues, but she knows how to handle him and it’s very clear they love each other. While the second half dragged on for me, I thought the two of them really held it together as a couple going through something interesting.
Predictable/Cliché. I called this movie from the beginning. I’ve never seen any of the other incarnations of the movie so I’m solely going off this and, the movie and story is very predictable and cliché. Jackson Maine is the established singer-songwriter who has a sad past, and who struggles with vices such as drugs and alcohol, he has a heart of gold but can’t seem to get out of his own way. Yep. He discovers a hopeful artist who wants to be a singer but thinks she can’t because of her appearance, he believes in her, she sings with him and then she becomes a star because a industry person is interested and she loses her sound blah blah blah, I called all of that and I was a bit upset when I was right. I may not have seen the other movies, but I have seen this movie so many times that I was hoping for a bit of originality and it seemed to start off that way in the first half but then it fell into the usual in the second half.
Second Half. Dragged on way too long. I started getting antsy. That hardly ever happens to me, long movies don’t bother me at all but the second was much weaker and I felt like I was watching a movie unfold that I’d already seen before. I got a bit irritated with that and I didn’t think the characters were as interesting as they were before, almost like the development we were getting in the beginning didn’t come full circle. I think the biggest thing is that Bradley Cooper does well in the second half, almost like the first half was dedicated to Gaga’s character and the second half for Cooper, which worked out I guess lol.
Overall, I liked A Star Is Born, I don’t think I liked it as much as other people do but I think it’s a really good movie. This is Lady Gaga’s movie as she does such a great job, especially with the singing and the emotional bits. Bradley Cooper also does really well, and I thought his direction was handled well and that he really tried to focus on the characters and their emotions (sometimes that’s annoying because you can’t really see what’s going on around the character, but it worked most times). The music is the highlight outside of Lady Gaga and I loved how they all fit the scenes they were in, or how it was used to describe a character at that moment. There was great chemistry and the first half of the movie was really good, I was totally invested. My biggest problem is the fact that the second half was weaker than the first half and it was totally predictable. It annoyed me, and I also thought it was too long because I started getting antsy as the film felt like it dragged on. Oh yeah, I totally needed subtitles in some pockets of the film. But, I liked it and I’m sure it’ll receive a lot of Oscar nominations.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen A Star Is Born? What are your thoughts?
Which movie featuring a singer turned actress/actor is your favorite??
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