A Star Is Born: Venice Film Review

I am a huge Lady Gaga fan and have been for years, so I went into A Star is Born really wanting her to be good in her first lead feature film role, and she didn’t disappoint me. She didn’t exactly blow me away, but her performance is solid and her singing is both moving and powerful.

She stars as Ally, a wannabe singer who hasn’t been discovered and only gets to show off her talents at a drag bar she used to work at. One night, alcoholic country musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) walks in… and the rest is history! He takes her under his wing and puts her talents in the spotlight, although he begins to spiral in his battle with drink and drugs as her career starts to take off.

Gaga can act, and she has the Golden Globe to prove it. Obviously, A Star is Born requires something quite different from her than American Horror Story, and she impressed me. She believably played a nobody who can’t believe her luck in the beginning, before shedding that insecurity and becoming a pop star, something she knows how to do very well. She had a solid emotional range but was most moving when she was acting through her singing. There were a few original numbers that really stood out, and they are all her piano-led vocal-driven powerhouse ones, which were sung live. There is no denying her voice – and that made her a smart choice for the role.

It is one thing to act and it is quite another to act and direct at the same time, but Cooper does a good job. I can’t see him being nominated for a directing Oscar for this, but it’s still a debut he can be proud of. He was naturally outshone in the vocal stakes by Gaga, but I was pleasantly surprised by his singing ability. He gives a believable country performance, with a deep gravelly voice, and puts on a convincing Southern drawl. Jackson is a mess and spends most of the time self-medicating with drink or drugs, and Cooper portrayed this expertly and didn’t overdo it.

I wasn’t sold on their chemistry in the physical sense, but I felt that Ally cared about Jackson a lot and they both excelled when they were fighting or Ally was acting like his mum. I reckon they will both end up with acting nominations this awards season. They are supported by the excellent Sam Elliott, who nails it as always as Jackson’s brother and manager, Anthony Ramos as Ally’s best friend, Andrew Dice Clay as her dad, and Dave Chappelle and Jackson’s friend, not to mention cameos from Alec Baldwin and Halsey.

This is the fourth A Star is Born movie, but I haven’t seen any of the others so I cannot compare. That worked to my advantage because I didn’t know where it was going to go and that made the ending more moving. I had tears in my eyes for Gaga’s last number, but I predict her diehard fans will be in floods.

May seem like an obvious thing to say but the plot isn’t the most original. It reminded me a lot of the TV show Nashville – I have seen similar arcs going on there. Despite this, I enjoyed A Star is Born a lot – it was a joy watching Gaga do so well and nail all the powerful numbers. Cooper impressed as both director and star, the soundtrack boasts some moving original songs, and I would happily watch it again.

In cinemas from 5th October

SEE ALSO: My pics of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper leaving the Venice Film Festival press conference

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  1. […] Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge the pics. Here is my review of the film. […]

  2. […] the opportunity to be there in the first place, but knowing I was one of the first people to see A Star is Born, Suspiria and First Man was super […]

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