I was less than thrilled when I heard about a fourth version of ‘A Star Is Born’ was in production. I struggled to see how it could be different or relevant, especially since the last version, released in 1976, was such a dud. The reviews were positive enough to pique my interest, and I have to say that this is a remarkable achievement. It is a dramatic and touching film with an outstanding soundtrack.
Lady Gaga plays Ally, an aspiring singer that established country rock performer Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) chances upon one night in a bar. Entranced by her, he invites her to perform with him, and soon her career skyrockets as the pair fall in love. However, Jackson is battling his own demons that threaten their relationship and her career ambitions.
Lady Gaga has had plenty of plaudits for her performance and it is way better than I would have expected from someone with so little acting experience. However, it is really Cooper’s movie. He is an actor who I have long admired but this is the performance of his career. His directing is also assured and the fact that he produced and co-wrote the film, as well as being involved in all the best songs, means that he could be a busy man at next year’s Oscars.
In a film with lots of great moments, there are two stand-out scenes. Jackson and Ally’s first performance together is spine-tingling and an exchange between Cooper and the brilliant Sam Elliott as his brother, in their car, is gut wrenching. This is a film that it is hard to find fault with, but if I was to criticise anything, it would be the ending. Based on what we have seen, it doesn’t seem credible that the song performed was written by Jackson, and the scene feels a little too calculated.
Overall though this is an outstanding movie and comfortably the best telling of this story.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10