REVIEW: A Star is Born 
Director: Bradley Cooper
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliot, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle
Photos: Warner Bros Pictures
PEx Rating: 9/10
Often we wonder if movie remakes are still needed. Some of the most memorable films this decade have been produced from original material, remakes have a high standard to meet in keeping up and even preserving the status of the predecessor, and there’s always that thought of “Why? This movie? Again?” Bradley Cooper, for his directorial debut, went for a fourth version of one of Tinseltown’s favorite tragic stories.
“A Star is Born” features prominent but booze-dependent rocker Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), crossing paths with frustrated waitress Ally (Lady Gaga) in a local drag bar. After seeing her perform La vie en Rose, the two spend the night flirting. This was followed by Jackson inviting Ally in one of his concerts and had her share the stage with him in a moment that not only turned viral, but opened doors for her. As her fame continues to skyrocket with SNL guestings and Grammy wins, his crashes further in the midst of what we can call their bad romance.
Cooper and co-writer Eric Roth fully understand that a story like this needs to be told in an epic and grandiose manner. It’s fresh despite the story being told is old-fashioned, it’s big yet intimate and warm, and this irony is what kept the whole thing chugging. The film lost quite a bit of its momentum in the second act as compared to how it effortlessly charms you in the beginning, but it has amassed more than enough commitment by that time that you’d forgive its minor shortcomings.
While the earlier versions of the film, particularly the 1937 William Wellman version and the 1954 George Cukor helmed one, called for the female lead to be an actress, this version led our heroine Ally into a music path – something the Frank Pierson 1976 remake did but was also infamously marked as the black sheep of the A Star is Born films. The music is surprisingly more than decent, with original songs written that fit perfectly in the context of the movie.
Both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have turned lived in performances. You’ll see a lot of Jackson’s close-ups, showing the weary defeated face of him giving up, and Cooper still sells that look with such tenderness and vulnerability. And Lady Gaga? It’s a stunt casting that turned out to be the biggest payoff in the film. I think the film title speaks for itself because she is a star. She knows the scope of this character and her performance invades the screen every time she was on. And while what they achieve individually is spectacular, the chemistry they share when together just brings the film on a much higher level. It is simply electrifying.
The 2018 version of A Star is Born proved that
this story merits another retelling. We’d go as far as saying that we’d totally
be fine if this ends up to be the last one; it certainly ends on a high note.
A Star is Born, In cinemas October 10