Given that Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born is the third direct remake of William A. Wellman’s 1937 Technicolor melodrama, it’s hopefully acceptable to acknowledge that the film’s central relationship doesn’t exactly end happily. In this latest riff on the enduring Hollywood tale, Cooper plays booze-addled rocker Jackson Maine, who falls for club singer Ally (Lady Gaga), and leverages his star power to jumpstart her fledgling musical career. But as Ally is transformed into a polished pop princess, Jackson’s personal demons rise to the fore and wreak havoc on the couple’s private and public lives. As an actress, Gaga proves herself more of a Cher than a Madonna, ensuring that Ally’s evolution from insecure ingénue to self-assured superstar feels utterly authentic. Cooper, meanwhile, rises to the tricky task of spending much of his time on screen in various states of drunkenness, without ever resorting to hammy theatrics. He exhibits similar restraint as a director, keeping the domestic drama understated, and confining the overwrought spectacle to a handful of rousing musical performances.
A Star is Born | Directed by Bradley Cooper (US 2018) with Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper. Starts October 4.
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