Review: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Are Intoxicating in ‘A Star is Born’

Hannah Bartos, Contributer

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“A Star is Born” is a remake of a remake of a remake, produced in a delicately exquisite manner. The film, directed by actor & director Bradley Cooper, portrays a musician struggling to fight alcoholism and drug abuse who is watching his own career slowly evaporate while he helps a young, aspiring musician (Lady Gaga) begin her own journey as a singer/songwriter.

Cooper and Gaga give a performance never before seen from either of them. In our current world, where every movie you loved and grew up with is being repeatedly remade before you reach your 25th birthday, this is one movie that will finally do the one’s before it justice.

In this 2018 version of a classic film, the first showing in 1937 produced by David O. Selznik and directed by William A. Wellman, Cooper has a few iconic lines, which became classic through the reiterations of the original film. Jackson Mane, upon dropping Ally off at her home after their first night together, rolls down the window calling back to Ally. She turns towards him, asking what he wants, and he says, “I just wanted to get another look at you.” This a line that is used in each version of the film, storing away some of its originality time and time again.

Though there are some similarities between all versions of the film, Cooper’s version has far surpassed the previous. From Oct. 5 15, the movie has grossed $97,538,822. That versus the 1976 version of the film which grossed $80,000,000 in its lifetime.

The films soundtrack is as beautiful as it is tragic. The opening song, sung by Jackson Mane, Black Eyes, is a loud, adrenalized country song. As opening credits open and dissolve from the screen, we hear an electric guitar played passionately into the exhilarated audience at a Jackson Mane concert. Shown from Mane’s own point of view, Cooper provides a compelling feeling of being both up on stage with Jackson Mane, and as a concert-goer at the same time.

There are also slower, more melodic songs. Sitting outside a convenient store in the middle of the night, Ally writes and sings part of a song on the spot. “Tell me something boy,” it begins. “Are you tired tryna fill that void? Or do you need more? Ain’t it hard keepin’ it so hardcore?” It is in that moment that Jackson knows Ally is going to be a star.

The music in the movie was largely written and produced Lukas Nelson, the 29-year-old son of the infamous Willie Nelson. Nelson worked closely with Gaga and Cooper, getting to know their individual characters as well as the film itself, but mostly wrote from the point of view of his own feelings and experiences.

As for Gaga and Cooper, Gaga has been a talented singer since she released her debut album, The Fame in 2008. Cooper, a surprisingly gifted singer, worked for many months on making his voice an octave lower, giving it its grunted, deeply country sounding aesthetic.

That said, many of the songs are deeply moving and the lyrics have incredible meaning.

Something that Jackson tries to drill into Ally is this idea that she has a platform to make change in talking about what is important, so why not use it?

However, as Ally rises up in stardom, her music shifts from content of importance to that of superficial matter. In a song called Why Do You Do That, Ally sings, “Why do you look so good in those jeans? Why’d you come around me with an ass like that?” Even in this lyric, though, Cooper, Nelson, and Gaga are taking the audience on the journey of stardom, and the paths on which it leads many celebrities.

There is much tension created between Jackson and Ally due to this change in her path, though. Jackson reminds Ally in many moments that she has the chance to speak words of significance because the world is listening. He reminds her that they won’t always care about what she has to say. It is possible he reminded her this constantly because, as he fell deeper into his world of drug abuse and alcoholism, he felt his fans were no longer listening to him.

When the film ended, no one in the theatre moved. We in the audience were a group of deeply moved individuals linked together by tragedy, joy, pain, heartbreak, confusion, and connection. The only sound in the crowd was the shuffling around of the human heart and a stifled sniffling, all of our cries quieted by the stunningly beautiful song playing along with the credits. Ending with the opposite of the loud, exhilarating beginning.

If you’re looking for a movie to watch in the coming weeks that will leave you helplessly breathless, vulnerable, and washed clean, this is the one to see.