A Star Is Born (Film Review)

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What is A Star Is Born?

Well, it is a remake. A remake of a movie that’s been done four times now, including the original. I must confess that I have not watched any of the previous versions. Some would say that should exclude me from writing about it. And fair enough. But A Star Is Born is also a movie that stands on its own. And to my personal interpretation it is a metaphor for the two ever-boxing ideas, sitting opposite of each other in the ring of an artist’s mind: commercial success and artistic expression. Each of the two main characters represents one and the movie is built on their relationship: the expression has always been there, and it is quite successful on its own, even though now jaded and kinda faded from the decades of self-abuse one must put himself through in order to properly channel it. And then success comes into the picture, a young, fresh breath of air with eyes wide open and aiming right up for the stars. The two meet, fall in love, find in the other what is missing in themselves, marry, struggle to co-exist, tumble, butt heads, fight, forgive, fall in love again only to realize that they’re not meant for each other. Success feels like expression is holding it back. And expression feels like success is just too much, he cannot keep up with it, he does not accept what it has become. They still love each other, but it’s just not meant to be.

A Star Is Born is also the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper. And maybe he did not intend it to be a metaphor. A Star Is Born is also, after all, a love story in the traditional sense. So much so, that the first half of the movie did not feel like something I’ve not seen before. Yet somehow the characters crawled under my skin progressively with each scene until I suddenly found myself caring about them too much. There was no turning back, I was too involved in this story. And then came the Grammy’s stage scene, which reached The Office-like levels of poignancy and cringe-ness. I almost had to turn away from the screen in embarrassment at the character’s behavior. Much like Gervais and Merchant, Cooper realizes that we must first care about the characters before we can truly feel embarrassed by their actions. By the end of the movie I was ready to cry and it takes a special kind of movie to truly move me to tears. But it felt real. We got it. It was a slice of reality, and it felt honest.

A Star Is Born is also a sign that maybe Lady Gaga has finally found her vocation. It was never in question that she had talent, but never did a song of hers come even close to moving me in the same way her performance here did. She became that character truly, and for a star of her stature to make us forget who she was for 135 minutes is really something. Lady who? All I know is an Ally. And Bradley Cooper, man, to be able to channel that kind of pain and world-weariness, it must’ve come from an honest place. And last, A Star Is Born is also the movie that has made me wanna write a review, and it’s been a long time since I last sat down to do that. I feel self-conscious in doing so because it is one of those jobs that I feel requires constant practice. But if there is a lesson that I learned from this movie, and one that I keep coming across in all forms of art, is that as long as you’re doing something honest, from the heart, people will respond to it. So I tried to write something honest. The ending of A Star Is Born is an equally triumphant and heartbreaking performance, a Phoenix rising from its ashes moment of artistry coming after the movie’s darkest turn. It inspires. It motivates. Go out there and do something that you feel passionate about. Because that’s how Stars are Born.

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Categories: Film Reviews

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6 replies

  1. I think it is the Best Picture winner, for the reasons you lay out…I was also lucky enough to attend a screening last week where Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliott spoke in-depth about the filmmaking process…here is that story if you are interested:
    https://johnrieber.com/2018/11/29/lady-gaga-and-bradley-cooper-talk-a-star-is-born-screening-and-conversation-the-story-of-sam-elliotts-voice/

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I want to review this one as well.
    Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was never a Lady Gaga fan…I am now after seeing this movie. And their duets had me in tears.

    Loved your review. 🙂 – Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My wife and I enjoyed it as well. It was much better than the Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson version. Lady Gaga was very convincing and Cooper was commendable as a musician. The first duet on stage was poignant. I recommend this movie to anyone.

    Like

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