Movie Thoughts - A Star Is Born
The new romantic musical epic starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper follows a young singer-songwriter named Ally as she gets taken under the wing of the troubled country rock star Jackson. A chance meeting between the two of them leads to their whole worlds being changed in ways they could never have expected, for better and for worse…
I watched the film last weekend and wow… Here are my thoughts:
~ You will not be prepared for how PHENOMENAL Lady Gaga is
Oh my word, I am such a big Lady Gaga fan but even I had no idea of the raw acting talent she possesses. Everything about her performance is magnetic, you literally cannot take your eyes off her. And it’s not because of any crazy wig or costume, she’s bare-faced and plain-haired through a lot of this movie, but something about her presence and intensity completely draws you in. The very final scenes of the movie are absolutely iconic and you can tell she poured every piece of herself into this role.
~ Bradley Cooper gives the performance of a lifetime
Bradley Cooper is just as incredible with his performance as a troubled, supremely talented alcoholic. I have never gone that much on Cooper as an actor, I’ve always thought of him as the guy who plays dumb, goofy comedy roles… but wow, did I underestimate him. He delivers such a strong character so perfectly, capturing every part of him from his warmth and passion to his repressed mumbling and drunken demons. It’s not easy to play that kind of part without veering into hamminess, but he never once becomes inauthentic or unbelievable. I was floored at his talent to be honest. (Also, he can really sing!)
~ Jack & Ally’s chemistry is electric
This is a very sensual film and the two lead characters have chemistry by the bucket load. You really feel their intense, blossoming romance and the love scenes are all very romantic and passionate. It was so good I can only assume those two had serious chemistry in real life too…!
~ The filming style is classic and personal
The way this movie was filmed was very reminiscent of oldschool 70’s and 80’s movies in that it felt so personal and almost like you were watching someone’s real life unfolding rather than scripted scenes. Everything felt so authentic and natural without losing the drive of the story in any way, plus the characters all looked very realistic in their style and dress instead of the typical perfect shiny Hollywood types. It just made you love them all even more.
~ There are so many themes that hit hard - especially if you are a musician
As a singer-songwriter myself, so much of this movie spoke to me. The feeling of meeting a perfect musical connection and creating something beautiful together. Getting swept away with the journey and losing what you want to say in the process. Jealousy from people who also love you. The early struggle and constant juggle. I am a sucker for scenes of female musicians quitting their jobs to chase their dreams, it’s the ultimate fantasy and I LOVED Ally’s “I quit” moment in the kitchen. Then of course there is the theme of addiction and finding the one person who believes in you and gives you wings. There were so many themes that are going to speak to so many people watching. I also noticed so much of Gaga’s own life story reflected in the storyline which is what gave it extra impact.
~ The songs are beautiful… Some a little more than others
I really want the soundtrack to this movie because it was full of gorgeous, powerful songs that were so interesting and so raw compared to Gaga’s usual chart pop. (Although of course, we’ve seen her start to go in this direction more with her last album Joanna). The melodies and lyrics are really unusual and special. Although to me, the leading track Shallow is definitely the stand-out and I feel a few of the other tracks couldn’t really measure up. Still, they are all well worth a listen.
~ Watch out for Shangela & Willam!
The girls from Ru Paul’s Drag Race make a special appearance as performers in the club where Ally first meets Jackson - it was so cool to see them on the big screen and they lit up every scene they were in.
~ The run-time is a little long…
I think my only slight criticism was that the run-time (2 hours, 17 minutes) felt quite long to me and by the end I was getting ever so slightly restless. That’s probably more down to my attention span though because everyone else around me was so swept up in it they weren’t thinking of the run-time. Also, I think had anything been cut down then the story would have suffered. Just be prepared for a long ride.
~ It’s a million times better than the Streisand version
Sorry Babs. I watched the original a few years ago during my Streisand phase and I don’t remember much about the story at all. It literally made no impact on me whatsoever and I found it quite boring. This movie was anything but boring though, it was one big emotional roller coaster. I guess by modernising the story it gives it so much more impact. I did love the little touches of Streisand in there though, especially with Gaga complaining about her big nose in the way the original character did.
~ You will cry. A lot.
I was told beforehand that this would be a weepie, but I didn’t realise quite how much it would break my heart. My friend Paul was so much of a wreck that he couldn’t speak for ten minutes afterward. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but JUST BE AWARE. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.
Overall… this is quite simply a bloody brilliant and beautiful movie. I loved it and I’m so glad films like this can still be made and become so popular. Also, I hope this isn’t the end of Gaga’s career because she is quite literally the star being born from this.