A Star Is Born (2018) a Heartbreaking Love Story

My Review of A Star is Born for my BFI Academy Arts Award. Plot Spoilers ahead! 

A Star Is Born (2018) a Heartbreaking Love Story

When I watched A Star is Born at the cinema recently I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the power of the music, the heartfelt love story and the amazing performances. Despite dealing with difficult issues such as alcoholism and substance abuse the Director and Star Bradley Copper handled it in a raw, yet sensitive way which did not romanticise something so tragic.

I liked how despite the stardom Lady Gaga naturally has she was able to play someone so nervous, natural and naive probably because she was probably just like her character Ally before the music industry transformed her into the distinctive icon she is today. In interviews, Lady Gaga has admitted that her real-life experience was incorporated into Ally’s personality as she herself performed in drag bars when she was starting out.  Furthermore, Ally’s insecurities about her big nose is the same complex Lady Gaga developed after critical comments in her early career. Cooper expanded this insecurity into reassuring, cute nose touching, one of his ways of paying homage to the earlier films face touching, while still keeping the affection fresh. Although I could see their relationship was flawed from the beginning, I still found myself rooting for them and their evident chemistry. The intensity with which they gazed at each other from their first meeting was great at conveying both the infatuation and the vulnerability Bradley would momentarily show when he opened up to her about his tragic childhood. 

  In addition to his amazing direction of the film, as a directorial debut. I was astounded by the rockstar quality in Bradley Cooper’s voice when he sang to real crowds as Jackson Maine as if that was what he was born to do. This electrifying concert atmosphere was achieved by playing secretive sets at famous music festival Glastonbury with amazing sound quality and concentrated performance close-ups. Along with the rockstar bravado came the rockstar stereotype of addiction, although this is a character archetype trope there was something heartbreakingly new in the way in which he spiralled. At first he seemed like a charming, handsome musician who would changed Ally’s world for the better. In a way he did he gave her love, confidence in her abilities and a career. 

 He improved her outlook by reminding her that, “talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it to have people listen to it, that's a whole other bag.” and offered her a platform to perform to a fanbase. A place where she could voice her soul to his fans. That platform was simultaneously the springboard and downfall of her career. The opportunity meant people took time to notice her, but her relationship and later marriage to Jackson meant her reputation was discredited. The duality in their love story is primarily shown in the grammy acceptance speech in which Ally thanks him for his love and support, causing him to stumble onto the televised stage drunk, high and incontinence. Despite going through rehabilitation the gaping internal demons Jackson had would never be healed my her devotion. Addiction is a horrible illness that destroy many lives and as much as I rooted for the musical couple they were always meant to fall apart, destined in tragedy. Not every love story ends in happiness, sometimes it is the journey that is the most meaningful. Jackson’s journey began with a car ride to any bar he could find. During that ride they passed a billboard with three nooses, before he even met Ally his life was tainted by suicidal thoughts because his energetic musicality and rushing passion for Ally was not enough to fill the darkness inside of him. 

Header Image Credit: Image courtesy of Warner Brothers

Author

Francesca Hughes

Francesca Hughes Centre

This author has no bio :(

2 Comments

  • Bee Snellen

    On 4 December 2018, 14:55 Bee Snellen commented:

    Excellent review Francesca! You have some mild spoilers in there so perhaps add a disclaimer at the start of your review? If you could also add an image that would be great!

    I loved A Star Is Born and how the story kind of naturally progressed throughout. Cooper and Gaga told the story so well, you almost forget that they're acting. I think Lady Gaga mentioned that she had to dye her hair as soon as they finished filming, just so she could feel like herself again and shed Ally's skin as it were. Have you seen any of the previous film adaptions of A Star Is Born? I think this is now the 4th one.

  • Blant Simonetti

    On 5 December 2018, 13:02 Blant Simonetti commented:

    after your review wanted to see the movie. very beautiful and interesting written!

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