Published on October 5th, 2018 | by Dan Nicholls


A Star is Born

A Star is Born brings Cooper and Lady Gaga to the tops of their games, in a four-time remake that could be an instant classic.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga bring their sizeable talents together to create a cinematic sonic boom in A Star Is Born, a fresh telling of a vintage story that just feels like a new classic. This is a pairing written in the cosmos and the movie is beautiful, wondrous, funny, romantic, and heartbreaking. It’s an immaculate piece of adult entertainment that aims for your heart and doesn’t miss

For a film that packs as much of a wallop as this, the story is deceptively simple. Singer-songwriter Jackson Maine (Cooper) knows his best days are behind him, and it shows in his rampant alcoholism and self-destruction. Meek kitchen busser Ally (Lady Gaga) has the voice of an angel but the confidence of a mouse. Their union rides the waves of a tumultuous relationship that peels back layers to reveal complex psychology and emotion. A Star Is Born tells a “tale as old as time” that resides beyond generational disparity as a universal, eternal truth.

This marks Lady Gaga’s first leading role in a major motion picture and one couldn’t even dream of a more auspicious debut. The celebrated and world-famous singer does more than just put her formidable vocals on display here, she embodies Ally with honesty, empathy, and achingly real love. Gaga is guaranteed to become an Academy Award nominee in January, if not the eventual winner. She proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is a pure Artist and knocks it out of the park.

Pretty boy Bradley Cooper has racked up accolades in the past for movies as diverse as Silver Linings Playbook and American Sniper – it’s no secret that the man has talent. But who could’ve known that he possessed exactly this within him? As star, director, co-writer, and producer, Cooper has crafted this film with unbreakable passion and commitment. His performance as the tragic crooner Jackson is arguably his best yet. As a director, he finds moments of unexpected subtlety and beauty while commanding such an epic production with precision and grace.

This is the fourth iteration of A Star Is Born following versions from 1937, 1954, and 1976. Perhaps I deserve to go to critic jail for this, but I’ve never seen any of the 20th century takes on this story. So, I can’t even begin to compare or speculate on where this 2018 release ranks in the hierarchy. Even when remakes recycle and reuse, what truly matters is how the current interpretation is told and not necessarily what it’s saying. In that regard, our current day Star shines in a way that is most definitely a recognizable reflection of our times.

Themes of jealousy, addiction, and mental illness run deep and never ring false. Small parts are brought to life indelibly and unexpectedly by Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, and Andrew Dice Clay. The music is actually good and doesn’t get tiring or repetitive in the least. A Star Is Born is the whole package: entertaining, bold, and universally effective. It’s a near-flawless Hollywood spectacle of the human condition.

A Star Is Born is going to make you cry. It will also make you fall in love with Ally and Jackson and their amazing chemistry. This is a story, and these are characters, that stick with you.

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About the Author

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is a Vancouver-based, lifelong movie geek who's been a projectionist, critic, director, (accidental) actor, and writer in the industry since E.T. phoned home. @dannicholls

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