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A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga) - Review

A Star Is Born

Review by Shereen Low

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

EVERY great song possesses the ability to take you on a story and move you through an emotional spectrum, and the latest big-screen remake of A Star Is Born definitely hits all the right notes, from the opening chords of Bradley Cooper raspily crooning Maybe It’s Time to a thousand-strong festival crowd to Lady Gaga (yes, the one and only) poignantly bringing the movie to a close with I’ll Never Love Again.

While making his directorial debut, Bradley also stars as drug and booze-addled rock star Jackson Maine, who is no stranger to the partying ways in the industry. Downing alcohol shots like water and snorting coke before he takes to the stage, it’s clear he’s on a narcissistic path to self-destruction – before he meets Ally, a restaurant worker and aspiring singer-songwriter, at a bar one night.

Mesmerised by her voice, he takes her under his wing, encouraging her to become more confident and nurturing her talent.

“I don’t sing my own songs. I just don’t feel comfortable,” she admits, adding: “Almost every single person tells me they like the way I sounded – but they didn’t like the way I look. Everyone I’ve met in the music industry tells me my nose is too big and I’m not going to make it.” He reassures her: “I think you’re beautiful.”

As Ally’s star rises, they embark on an intense and heady relationship, which plays out in the adrenalin-fuelled and frenetic performances.

But Jackson’s demons, as well as his constant boozing and drug-taking, threaten their partnership and his career. “You think he drinks a bit too much? You have no idea. He’s a drunk,” Ally tells her father, Lorenzo (Andrew Dice Clay).

There’s already a lot of awards buzz rightly surrounding both leads – Cooper, for both for his direction and acting, and Gaga for her acting. She has already who won a Golden Globe for her turn in American Horror Story: Hotel in 2015, remember. Both leads shine brightly on the big screen in this film.

Impressively, all their songs, which they co-wrote and produced together, were performed live with no lip syncing or pre-recorded vocals. For Cooper – who also co-wrote the screenplay – this also involved 18 months of vocal training as preparation.

This remake, which is the third following in the footsteps of the 1954 version starring Judy Garland and James Mason and in 1976 featuring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, has been years in the making.

Beyonce was once attached to star under Clint Eastwood’s direction in 2011, before Cooper and Gaga signed on in 2016 – it could have been a very different film altogether!

Under Cooper’s watch, however, this has become a terrific vehicle for Gaga’s big screen debut. It will undoubtedly propel her career to higher levels, just like Dreamgirls did for Jennifer Hudson. A star is born, indeed!

Certificate: 15
Running time: 126 minutes
UK release date: October 3, 2018