A STAR IS BORN (2018)

  • Release Date: 03/10/2018
  • Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Rafi Gavron
  • Director: Bradley Cooper

A Star is Born is a remake of a film that has been remade more times than probably any film of the past. It has been remade in varied languages too. In India, the recent most incarnation of it was Aashiqui 2. For a while, I took “A Star is Born” to be the remake of Aashiqui 2 before a friend of mine drew my attention to the “A Star is Born” franchise that has existed for decades sprawling remakes and copycats all across the world. I was a bit embarrassed as I believe myself to be quite a movie buff and I not knowing about such a popular film was at the least curious. Keeping all the vanity aside, now the question for me was, what could Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga do differently to make this film worthwhile and enjoyable.

Jack (Cooper) is a superstar who is gradually slipping in his game owing to his drinking habits, his diminishing hearing and an attitude that is not exactly the best. He still has the pull to sell off entire stadiums and after the very first performance, we see why. He meets Ally (Gaga) in the most unexpected of places and is bowled over by her singing. He evidently falls in love with her. She, who has been trampled on for having a good voice but awkward looks that, makes it a NO! NO! For her to be a stage star isn’t ready to believe him or let him in. However, Jack breaks through her reserves and soon she is performing alongside him. Ally becomes famous and as she ascends up the stairs of success, Jack nosedives into a downward spiral that only threatens to destroy both their professional accomplishments but also put an end to a tender love story that they both derive their strengths from.

A Star is Born is what it is for its exceptionally warm performances. From the moment Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga came into the picture, I was transfixed on their act. I knew my way around the plot and the various twists and turns but what made the film immersive for me was the drama that unfolded between the two. Jack is a troubled man. You can make that out after listening to what he has to say about himself and his parentage and he has a goofy mannerism to go with a confusing attitude that makes it extremely difficult to predict what is going on in his mind and what he would do next. This added so much to the emotional moments as I literally waited to see how he would react to a particular situation or what he would tell Ally as she starts getting micromanaged or about the things that she starts modifying about herself.

Ally, on the other hand, has built a thick skin around her as she has been in the receiving end of a lot of unnecessary flack from a lot of people who she would have loved to be by her side. So when Jack comes along, she tries to keep things grounded and real and is unable to believe that he is actually taking her life and turning it on its head in a way that she wanted it to turn. The first concert, the compliments from Jack about her beauty, the comfort, the applause— It all feels very surreal to her and you can see all that Gaga’s eyes.

Cooper and Gaga not only bring their respective characters to life with some stunning realism but are also able to affect you with their acts. There were scenes when Gaga was on her way to success and I could see Cooper getting a tad bit sidelined and I wanted to hold Gaga by the neck and tell her that “hey! Look out for that man who brought you here, he is getting left behind”. Similarly, in a scene towards the end, Cooper calls her ugly and I could see in her eyes how badly that affected her because he was the one who called her pretty when everyone else found her weird. The narrative is peppered with such poignant scenes all throughout. Even the supporting cast is top notch. Sam Elliott is terrific and shares one of the most breathtaking scenes of the film with Cooper. Dave Chappelle has another similar scene with Cooper which I totally loved.

The music of the film is out of the world. “Shallow” is my favorite track but the rest are also right up there with it. The music of the film created by Bradley Cooper and lady gaga suits the mood and feel of the film. Sometimes I felt as if the music was created first and then the story around it and sometimes vice versa. Whichever of it was the case, it worked perfectly. The fact that the actors were singing their own songs only added to the realism of the whole tale. One has to agree that when you are performing a song yourself, you tend to move an react differently than what you would have had you been just mouthing songs after someone had already sung it.

A Star is Born is what it is because of its treatment and performances. That was always what I expected from this film but I was frankly taken aback by how much I cared for the characters and how much I got involved in their tale. My all-time favorite romantic film is interestingly the Bradley Cooper-Jennifer Lawrence starer Silver Lining Playbook and this one came a very close second. The ending is what was off-putting for me. I like my films ending on a positive note. That was my only issue with the film. Sans that, the music, the performances and the mood of this film will take you on one rollercoaster ride of emotion, pain, redemption and above all that magical feeling called love.

Rating : 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)

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