Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is a popular country singer dealing with alcohol and drug abuse. He is managed by his significantly older half-brother Bobby (Sam Elliot) with whom he has sort of a troubled relationship. Once, after a concert in California, he stops by a drag bar to have a drink. There he witnesses Ally (Lady Gaga) perform a French song and is impressed greatly by her talent. Through one of Ally’s friend who also works in the bar, Jackson gets to interact with her and both of them set out to spend some quality time with each other. Soon, love blossoms between both of them and Jackson start helping Ally to build up a career in music along with him. But as her talent surfaces to the public, she is approached by music producer Rez Gavron (Rafi Gavron) to sign a record deal with his company, which she happily agrees to. But how will Ally’s newfound success affect her relationship with Jackson? Will he be able to take it positively?
Positive Points: –
- The collective performances of the cast members most profoundly that of Cooper’s.
- The soundtrack.
- The third act where the movie invests greatly in the real tribulations of life and relations.
Negative Points: –
- As the fourth official (and there are many unofficial remakes and inspirations as well) remake of the 1937 film of the same name, I wished there was something uniquely different in the storyline of this Bradley Cooper directorial.
- Until the third act, the film is a headache save for its songs which come up as a relief.
- The romance between Jackson and Ally is shitty and unconvincing.
The General Aspects Of The Film: –
The Greatest Showman made me realise how one could love a movie despite its lacking quality provided its music is great. Bradley Cooper’s directional debut A Star Is Born somewhat repeats the same experience but less successfully. The soundtrack is great, its songs are awesome and their lyrics are captivating, something that helps a ton in surviving most of its unenthusiastic premise but it only makes the movie borderline satisfying. As a debutant, Cooper has done a good job as he instils some really enchanting moments in the film but its overall execution is still mainstream, not just to the very plot of all the instalments of A Star Is Born, but also to most similar movies across the globe. My problem with the film started right from the moment our protagonists are made to meet. To be honest, Lady Gaga looked absolutely terrifying in that weird make-up and it was kinda funny to see Cooper’s character smitten by her (and no he didn’t fall only for her voice there!). Cut to a few scenes, as our leads come face to face, they have sort of an awkward interaction which albeit shown to be romantic, is actually creepy. In this era of #MeToo, I won’t be surprised if someone called our Jackson’s gestures as indecent. Then as they get to know each other, things become a lot more illogical and farce, be it Ally punching a man for taking pictures with Jackson or her raising concerns about people’s reaction towards him owing to his popularity or even getting in a relationship with him. There’s no good reason as to why any sane girl would get with an alcohol-abuser like our man here and the only plausible reason I can foresee is that she was using him as a ladder, something which the makers obviously didn’t and wouldn’t portray. However, its insipid premise does take a turn in its final act as the film grows serious and focuses on the relationships of its protagonists amongst each other, with people and things around them, especially Jackson’s relationship with his brother Bobby which is its most humanely touching part. These concluding montages have probably always alleviated films like this owing to the connection they make with the viewers. That does help in improving one’s view of the film but it’s not necessarily the deciding factor for declaring the film’s verdict.
Different people have expressed their favourite elements in A Star Is Born, some claiming that the soundtrack was its best feature while some consider Cooper’s direction to be its most positive aspect. I’d prefer to differ from both the groups and though I believe its songs did a fantastic job in saving it from failing, it’s largely the performances which gave the film its soul.
Bradley Cooper has given a stellar performance as Jackson Maine, an act which I believe should be remembered as one of his best. Unlike most other performers in the same shoes, Cooper portrays an alcoholic in a more realistic manner making his character’s problems a whole lot more believable. He has imitated Sam Elliot’s voice almost immaculately, which is actually integral to the storyline. Lady Gaga also goes hand in hand with him for she makes a remarkable debut as an actress. It’s good to see how Cooper, as the director, pulled out the unseen thespian in her and embellished it for the audience in the most apposite fashion. Nonetheless, the real emotional thrust of the movie is imparted by Cooper’s rendition and he easily settles down as the best performer in here by a large margin. The only one who came close was Sam Elliot. Not enough of Elliot is one of my major complaints with A Star Is Born because not only did his character boost the film’s sentiments but he, as an actor, also gave a more humane touch to the film. There is a montage where Jackson confesses his admiration for his older brother as they depart, and boy you should see Elliot’s expression in it! You’d understand why I believe that a more significant screentime for Bobby would have fetched Elliot an Oscar. I think the movie could have been something else, and much better if the story was more about Bobby and Jackson instead.
Final Verdict: –
I have no issues with the unanimously positive reviews that are being showered upon A Star Is Born because I understand music and sentimentality have different impacts on different personalities. For me, the soul of the movie lay in its final 20-30 minutes which were awesome but apart from that, it was passable. A Star Is Born sort of redeems itself from all its shortcomings all because of its fantastic concluding montages which are ameliorated by the performances and of course music, but that doesn’t make up for the pain its other parts endured upon its viewers, thanks to a plethora of reasons most of which are aforementioned.