“A Star Is Born” Ignites High Praise


The 2018 remake of “A Star Is Born” features Hollywood icons Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Gloria Han, Maroon-News Staff

This year’s “A Star is Born” is the fourth remake of the original 1937 film. I personally have never seen any of its predecessors. Two of them have starred prominent singer-actresses – Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand – so it may not come as a surprise that Lady Gaga landed the star role in the 2018 remake. While still more widely known as a singer, Gaga has proved herself a worthy actress in recent years, winning a Golden Globe for her stint as “The Countess” in “American Horror Story: Hotel.” However, Gaga was not initially considered for the role; in fact, since 2011, Beyoncé was being considered for the female lead. Actors such as Christian Bale, Tom Cruise and Will Smith were considered for the male lead, before Bradley Cooper was confirmed.

This film has been a long time coming and is being met with the appropriate craze. A number of celebrities have lauded the film, and critical reception has been overwhelmingly positive. Considering Sony’s “Venom” is also out, the film has also been faring well at the box office.

Without Gaga’s presence, the movie wouldn’t have been half as engaging. The early years of her career featured pop-dance bops (“Poker Face,” “Just Dance”), and outlandish outfits (meat and origami dresses), emanating the persona of a bold, eccentric diva. Gaga’s image continues to evolve, but “A Star is Born” allows us to see her versatility. I didn’t quite realize how strong a voice she had until her 2015 Oscars performance of “The Sound of Music.” Even with this in mind, Gaga’s performance as Ally still mesmerized me. There’s no doubt that she’s not only a powerhouse as a performer, but also a songwriter – she composed a majority of the movie’s soundtrack. As an actress, she surprised me as well. Ally’s protective, defensive and vulnerable characteristics are brought to life by Gaga’s portrayal, as the character transitions from a waitress/nightclub singer – with an “unflattering” nose – to a Grammy-winning, recognized (but somewhat compromised) talent.

The other surprise of the movie was Cooper, who also served as the director. Who knew he could also sing and write songs? The amount of work Cooper put into this production is tangible. He makes us believe in Jackson Maine’s – his character – fame and charisma. His sweet, romantic side contrasts but also coincides with his impulsivity and destructive tendencies; he simultaneously lifts Ally up to stardom and drags her down with his alcohol and drug addictions, conflicting us as viewers. Overall, his performance is phenomenal, and Holly- wood would be sorely mistaken to under-utilize this quadruple threat.

These two leads and their sizzling chemistry are really what make the movie. The music is decent too; their song “Shallow” has grown on me. The story itself is, of course, nothing we haven’t heard before. The rise of an underdog, the decline of a celebrity to the throes of addiction – they’re nothing new. However, we find that they can still impact us.

Hamilton Theater’s Sean Nevison described the movie as consisting of many “different emotional experiences,” a “beautiful kind of sad” being one. On the other hand, I found that some audience members were disappointed. A couple of my friends expressed that the movie was not evenly paced, and said that they “didn’t feel for this couple at all.” I myself do wish the ending was a little more emotionally dramatic.

I certainly wouldn’t go as far as some have to call the film an Oscar contender, but it was still engrossing and enjoyable, and had a poignant message. I think the sniffling students sitting near me would agree.

Contact Gloria Han at [email protected]