I have not seen any other version of A Star Is Born. I have not seen the Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson version, the Judy Garland and James Mason version, nor the Janet Gaynor and Fredric March version. I have not even seen What Price Hollywood? which is viewed by some to be the predecessor to all of the versions of A Star Is Born. I have only seen this version of A Star Is Born starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, so I will not be making comparisons to those other films. I am solely reviewing this film for what it is, a fantastic film. A Star Is Born is a moving film that is still resonating with me days afterward.
A Star Is Born tells the story of Ally (Lady Gaga), a talented singer who has been turned down by the music industry for not having the right look. By day, she works as a catering waiter while she pursues her singing career at night. One evening when Ally is singing at the drag bar she used to work at, a drunken Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) stumbles into the bar and discovers her talent. The two spend the night hanging out, talking, and writing. Ally is cautious to accept Jackson's offer to come to his show the following day, but she eventually accepts and her life is forever changed. But there is more to this story than the fairy tale of an unknown being discovered by a superstar. A Star is Born is an engaging tale of addiction, fame, partnership, and family.
A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper's directorial debut and he has done a wonderful job with this film. I am surprised that he did not get a nomination for this film, but I wonder if that has to do with the film being a remake. The acting is fantastic. Cooper made me want Jackson Maine to be real. (Of course, sober and not troubled by addiction, but real.) Cooper has stated in interviews that he spent time with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder to influence the character of Maine. His performance is so believable I forgot that Jackson isn't real.
Lady Gaga plays Ally with the comfortability of a seasoned performer and I think she will be continually courted by other filmmakers in the coming years. Sam Elliot also brings his incredible talent to his role as Bobby and steals the show during one of the film's most emotional yet subtle scenes. No spoilers here though. Outside of the stellar performances by Cooper, Gaga, and Elliot, Andrew Dice Clay, Anthony Ramos, and Rafi Gavron all further enhance this great film with their performances.
And of course I cannot forget to mention the music and musical performances in this movie. I knew that Lady Gaga could sing, but her talent and sound constantly blow me away. Bradley Cooper learned to sing for the film and he definitely carries his own as well. The duo sound wonderful together.
Then there is the song "Shallow" which is the song that a lot of the film revolves around which was written by Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt. Regardless of the film, "Shallow" is a good song. It is no surprise why it was nominated for an Oscar this year. But the other musical performances also help drive the plot and directly tie into what the characters are experiencing.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo has some great special features. It includes "The Road To Stardom: Making A Star Is Born," "Jam Sessions and Rarities," "Music Videos," and a digital movie code so you can download the film to your laptop or mobile device. Fans of the film will enjoy the behind-the-scenes footage and rare performances.
A Star Is Born is rated R and has a runtime of 2 hours and 15 minutes. The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is out now.