I sat in my local movie theater in early August preparing to see "BlackKklansmen" when a trailer I had never seen began.
I heard the crow of a country singer and I was intrigued. Then, the shot panned to the singer's face to reveal Bradley Cooper with long hair and his signature grin. I burst out laughing because Bradley Cooper was the last person I expected to see that voice coming from. Seconds later I see an actress who looks and sounds like Lady Gaga, but couldn't be Lady Gaga, followed by confirmation that it was, in fact, the performer famous for songs like "Pokerface" and "Bad Romance." I was so distracted by the casting choices that I just wrote it off as a film I wouldn't be interested in.
Lady Gaga belts "Shallow".https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSbzyEJ8X9E
Fast forward to late September and I'm listening to "Shallow" on repeat, consuming dozens of articles (like this one) about the brilliance of Bradley Cooper's directorial debut, and impatiently awaiting the day I'll get to see Lady Gaga's immaculate performance critics are gushing about.
"A Star is Born" is a story about Jackson Maine (Cooper), a good-hearted country rockstar drowning in alcoholism, and Ally (Gaga), a small town girl working a low-income job singing her heart out in a drag bar whenever she can. They fall in love and Jackson introduces Ally to the world of stardom and she falls deep into for better or for worse.
Gaga and Cooper sing together in Ally's first performance.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSbzyEJ8X9E
For the past couple of years, I've made it a goal to see every Best Picture contender before the Oscars ceremony. Even though we're months away from nominations being announced, it's obvious that "A Star is Born" has been destined for Oscar greatness since the second they dropped the trailer. The fact that this is the fourth version of this classic Hollywood story and it manages to feel fresh, relevant, and timeless is a credit to the talents of Bradley Cooper and the team he assembled for this film.
Gaga's character dazzles the crowd with her vocals.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSbzyEJ8X9E
Despite the fact that Ally's breakout performance was circulated through Youtube, I never get the feeling that this story had to take place in 2018. I think Cooper did that by making his character a representation of old Hollywood stardom. There is music like Jackson Maine's being made today, but something about his songs feels nostalgic and detached from what's popular today. When he hears Ally sing, Jackson hears a soulfulness in her that he doesn't hear much anymore and he's drawn to it. A central conflict throughout the film is Ally becoming a star and finding her sound as an artist in a way that Jackson doesn't like. She begins to cross over from the old world of music to the new world and Jackson can't take it.
Cooper's character Jackson Maine headlines a concert.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSbzyEJ8X9E
This movie is an epic, heartbreaking love story and you're welcome to accept it as such. But I think if you look at the movie from this angle of old Hollywood versus new Hollywood, it spotlights something that is prevalent now more than ever: accepting change. Jackson's unwillingness to accept that Ally is changing is reflective of our world in so many ways. He sees these changes as "selling out" and is unsupportive of her career. Ally feels that she is still herself, but she acknowledges that, just like any other business, compromises need to be made.
Overall, this is a lovely film. From the acting to the music and the cinematography to the wardrobe, Bradley Cooper made something so spectacular. This film has a lot to say and it communicates that so well. I suggest you start placing your bets on award nominations now.
Gaga and Cooper play opposite love interests in the third "A Star is Born" remake.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSbzyEJ8X9E