I LOVE to see a movie that will command my attention, that’s not afraid to be gaudy and also stays genuinely real to the characters.
More often than not, I think it is safe to say that most people aren’t a fan of remakes, unless the original film wasn’t good to begin with. A Star is Born is a movie that has been remade several times since its original debut in 1937. I’ll be honest, I was not looking forward to seeing this movie in theaters, but lucky for me, I have a friend that really wanted to go watch it. I can honestly say it was by far one of the best movies I have seen in my life, no other movie has ever connected to me the way that one did.
“It’s heartfelt, well-paced, and gut-wrenchingly tragic, with gorgeous music and two main characters taking center stage by grabbing hold of the audience’s emotion until the very last second.” – Heather Gunn (Vue Weekly)
The story starts with Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) making his way on stage, but not before taking a drink and downing a handful of prescribed pills. I felt like I had a VIP access to joining him on stage and got to see all the dark secrets to fame. Then the music starts, I immediately felt the nostalgia of a true rock ‘n’ roller. The opening scene is intense, bold and raw. What makes it even more captivating is the transition, we see a drunken Jackson slip into an SUV after his show and sip on a bottle. Once he runs that dry he insists that his driver stops at a bar, and the one he stumbles into is having a drag night. I loved it! Ally (Lady Gaga aka Stefani Germanottaists) is friends with many of the drag performers and she is welcomed to perform there because they love her voice. She performs a French piece that is passionate, sexy and alluring…much like her character I might add. Jack is smitten with her from the moment he watches her, and honestly so was I! He asks her out for a drink and she ends up punching a man in the face who is harassing Jack at a bar, Jack then insists on helping to ease the pain, and she ends up singing for him. This is the beginning to their love story, and its a pretty solid first act.
We now get to know them a little more. He is a performer who has lost his lust for what he is doing,and has formed self-destructive habits, but he has a long track record of hits to his name. She is a waitress aspiring to be a singer-songwriter, she has an intensely beautiful voice, but she is insecure about her looks because of others. Jack invites her to one of his shows where they perform the bewitching song Ally wrote that is… “Shallow.” She joins him on tour and is now not only his lover but also his stage partner. I felt like I was a part of the honeymoon phase of their relationship. It was fun, care free and awe-worthy. The bond between them grows and they are inseparable through the second act of the movie. This is what makes the final act of the movie so emotionally provoking.
As Ally’s career starts to expand she moves into becoming a solo pop act with a manager who wants to make her big, but is not as concerned with keeping her true to herself. Through this, Jack’s unhealthy habits continue to spiral out of control. He is a drunk, a drug addict and he even spites his wife because she is changing her look for her career. (Notice in the next picture her hair is red.) As an audience member, you can’t help but reminisce back on their love in the second act. The reality is that as this turmoil thickens, we see the looming conflict of the third act:
Ally must choose between being the caregiver of the self-destructive man she loves or her budding career.
This movie has everything: a swept-off-your-feet romantic fantasy, an underdog-makes-good journey, a wrenching substance abuse drama, and an industry cautionary tale combined.” – Alison Willmore (BuzzFeed News)
Aside from the plot, which is truly outstanding, there is so much more that makes this movie a worthy watch. From the preparation Bradley Cooper went through to play the character all the way down to how the movie was cut and edited. The only down side I could personally find is that, depending on the person, it is a long movie. There are three acts to get through before the dramatic and surprising ending, totaling the movie length to be 2 hours and 15 minutes. Not to worry, there is definitely enough going on that it fills that time well, without there being too much or too little development to the story line.
Overall this film is a very unrealistic tale that showcases some very real issues that affect millions of people.
Substance abuse is a huge one, and Bradley Cooper plays into this role very well without being the “stereotypical slurred drunk.” Jack’s personality always holds its presence, even when his movements, his voice and looks were dripping in alcoholic mustiness. Another one is how looks can place a burden on someone’s dreams. It is mentioned several times in the movie that Ally would showcase her voice to a room full of men but always get rejected because her nose was too big. This really hits on the societal pressure put on women to “look good” or they won’t be enough to fill bigger shoes. Lastly it also touches on raw and genuine love, and not just the good parts. In fact, most of the movie targets on the challenges they faced in their relationship. Many people can relate to wanting the love to be enough, and yet still feeling that it might not be. I have been through that time and time and again. So it’s shouldn’t be a surprise that by the end of the movie, I was personally moved to tears. And not just one or two, but I was full on sobbing because of how emotionally captivating it is. If it isn’t clear already, I recommend this movie to anyone and everyone. This is a remake worth watching and is 100% the best movie of 2018.