A Star Is Born (AU - M/UK - 15/US - R)

In a Word: Teary

A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper plays Jackson Maine and Lady Gaga, Ally Campana, in the latest remake of A Star is Born.

 

"There is something cathartic in watching those who seemingly have everything struggle with the same concerns that we can all identify with, whether it be love, purpose, temptation or self worth. It is a worthy reminder that no matter how high they rise, that every star is born human with the same frailties we all have but also the universal desire to love and be loved." 

Pop sensation Lady Gaga and screen veteran Bradley Cooper join their musical and cinematic talents to update this classic tale of fame, love and loss.

A Star is Born is the 4th remake of the 1937 film. This latest interpretation owes a lot to the 1976 version (with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson) as that was the first to shift the storyline from actors in Hollywood to singers in the intense world of mainstream rock. This setting gives ample opportunity for Gaga and Cooper to flex their vocal prowess as well as their dramatic abilities. It is impressive to note that Gaga also penned the majority of original songs while Cooper not only sings and acts, but also makes his directorial debut.

Cooper plays aging superstar singer Jackson Maine whose life of excess and substance abuse is edging him closer to self-destruction. Gaga plays the Cinderella of this tale, Ally Campana, who works menial jobs, does household chores and even takes out the trash before being discovered as a singer in a chance encounter with Jackson.

The two begin an unlikely relationship and as they inspire each other creatively, their romance builds. While Ally’s star begins to rise, Jackson's profile is on the decline. Now their genuine love for each is challenged by the pressures of stardom which includes struggles with self-esteem, addiction and artistic integrity. The film earns its mature rating with several scenes of drug taking and nudity as we witness the rise and fall of these star crossed lovers.

The strength of A Star Is Born over the many remakes has been the story’s ability to make an emotional impact on audiences. The story is a bona fide tear jerker and this latest retelling makes numerous changes from past versions to maximise the pull on our heart strings. Cooper’s character is far more sympathetic and lovable than Kristofferson’s portrayal and Gaga’s character has a much more developed internal conflict as she deals with insecurities both physically and artistically. All this serves to make these stars more relatable and emotionally accessible and you are well advised to bring tissues, for there will be tears.

This emotional punch is heightened by a series powerful songs that are featured at climatic moments throughout the film. Remarkably, at Gaga’s insistence, these songs were performed live in the film. The whole package becomes an ideal star vehicle for Gaga as she demonstrates a versatility to sing, act, write and produce songs across multiple genres. 

A Star Is Born is just as relevant today as it was when the story debuted more than 80 years ago. Our fascination with fame and its physical and emotional toll has fuelled an ever-growing demand to glimpse inside the lives of the rich and famous. There is something cathartic in watching those who seemingly have everything struggle with the same concerns that we can all identify with, whether it be love, purpose, temptation or self worth. It is a worthy reminder that no matter how high they rise, that every star is born human with the same frailties we all have but also the universal desire to love and be loved.