A Star Is Born (2018) –  Review

Written by on October 23, 2018

There are times when you might think you are talented, then you realise that Bradley Cooper wrote, starred in, directed, wrote and performed original songs for this film. That sentence was exhausting to write never mind to achieve anything along those lines. Let alone with this level of quality. A Star Is Born is a film that has been made many times over the years and this version would have to present a familiar story in a new and gripping manner, no pressure Bradley.

The soundtrack to this film has been playing at random intervals through my house for a while now. Let’s be honest there have been tracks from it playing just about everywhere lately. I am not one to board the hype train at all and in fact I have been put off with the coverage that this film has been receiving. The fact that the soundtrack seems to be everywhere and everyone was talking about Oscar potential for the film made me question whether to go and see it or wait until it could be streamed. After all, at first glance it was simply a remake of several previous films and a watered down Walk The Line.

One thing that I forgot to factor into this thought process is the way that Cooper approaches roles and the intensity that he seems to bring to the project. Regardless of the overall quality of the film that he is seen in there is never a time when you think he is not giving everything he has to the role. Given that he is taking up all kinds of responsibility here it should follow that he would do the same in all other roles also.

This isn’t just the Cooper show however and his co-stars throw everything they have into their roles. There was a very real danger with this film that it would fall into the same traps as the previous version starring Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand. Casting two singers who could almost act was glaring when I watched this version a few days ago. This was glaring in the previous film but not so in this. Both characters, played by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were believable and the acting was spot on. The supporting cast of comedians made me smile whenever they were on screen, great performances from Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay and Dave Chappelle brought heart to the film and a brief cameo from Eddie Griffin brought a smile.

Lady Gaga is surprisingly human in her role as Ally. There is no sign of the usual stiffness that follows singers appearing in films. Helped by appearing in a few smaller roles previously here Gaga is the focus of the film, running an emotional gamut on screen and never once seeming out of place among heavy hitters such as Cooper and Sam Elliott. Her character is at once tough, strong and vulnerable, a delicate balance that would be difficult to portray for actors with much more experience

Dice is great as the father to Lady Gaga’s Ally. His character is played so well you believe whole heartedly in the emotion and connection between the two. This is especially the case when he is helping a hugely drunk Cooper back to his hotel room, being both the caring father and the angry father in law at the same time.

Overall this film deserves the buzz that is surrounding it. The performances are fantastic across the board. The music is enjoyable and, again, is getting so much airtime for a reason. This film exhibits the best parts of the story and the human interaction between the characters without falling into the same traps as it’s predecessor with a too long run time, too much reliance on music over story and ropey performances.

This is a film you should definitely go out and see

Rating 8/10

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