FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: A Star Is Born (2018)
I’m a Kendall Richardson and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is the anticipated remake A Star Is Born…
Hard-drinking musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) discovers and falls in love with young singer Ally Campana (Lady Gaga). But as her star rises, his begins to diminish…
The word remake can be an ugly one, but I think this film might be on track to change the minds of the population. This is the fourth time the story of A Star Is Born has been told; first in 1937, then in 1954 with the legendary Judy Garland, again in 1974 with icons Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand, and now here in 2018, with Bradley Cooper and the one and only Lady Gaga. I feel this film is set to certify the latter pair as performing legends. It is just phenomenal to think this is Cooper’s directorial debut and Gaga’s first time as a leading lady in a motion picture. They make it look as easy as the sky is blue.
The tale of A Star Is Born introduces us to Jackson Maine (Cooper), a living legend, as it were, of the music industry, but one whose star might be about to fade, or is at least becoming clouded with drugs and alcohol. This is Bradley Cooper like we have never seen him before, with a low gravelly drawl, a little withdrawn and troubled, who yet carries himself with a commanding presence, especially on stage where he comes alive. He nails the world-weary rock star with the same amount of ease you see in his direction. It’s a lovely understated performance and he charms you in every scene.
Then Ally (Lady Gaga) arrives. From her first moments on screen, we know this is Lady Gaga, Mother Monster as she is known to her legions of fans worldwide, yet we do not recognise her at all; although Ally does seem to share some of her feistiness as well as her musical talent. In fact, Ally’s story and Gaga’s are not entirely dissimilar. Just like our heroine, Gaga was turned down and turned away in the early days of her career, until finally someone took a chance on her. The rest, they say, is history. Her portrayal of Ally is just sheer perfection. She carries the role with guts and grace, and a beautifully depicted vulnerability. The way Gaga emotes with her face and eyes, from the subtle glances to the biggest of smiles, is wonderful to watch.
After a fateful night involving drag queens and dive bars, Jack is unable to leave Ally’s side until the sun rises. She sings for him, she writes a song on the spot, and the look on his face says it all. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have an onscreen chemistry for the ages. The love you see depicted between them feels so real and will well up your heart with hope. The best scenes come when the two of them share the stage. I just love everything about it. And Bradley can siiiiing! The vocals for the film were all recorded live—none of it was lip synced. The soundtrack to this film is exceptional. Obviously ‘Shallow’ is a major highlight, but songs like ‘Maybe It’s Time’, ‘Always Remember Us This Way’, and ‘I’ll Never Love Again’ are incredible pieces of music and lyrics that will tug at your heartstrings, and move you long after the credits have finished rolling.
It’s fair to say I think A Star Is Born is one of the best movies of the year. I always knew it would be good, but I had absolutely no idea how good. It is a fine piece of cinema and entertainment that has clearly been crafted with love, time, and hard work. And the hard work has certainly paid off, considering everyone is predicting this just might be the film to beat at the 2019 Academy Awards. Pretty good for a remake, huh? 5 / 5
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay, Anthony Ramos, Michael Harney, Rafi Gavron.
Director: Bradley Cooper | Producers: Bill Gerber, Jon Peters, Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Lynette Howell Taylor | Writers: Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters (based on A Star Is Born by William A. Wellman, Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker, and Alan Campbell) | Cinematographer: Matthew Libatique | Editor: Jay Cassidy
In cinemas now.
Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!
I’ve been a Kendall Richardson and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.
RELATED REVIEW: Glitter (2001) (click on image) ⬇️