A Star Is Born: Film Review

I am a huge Lady Gaga fan and have been for years, so I went into A Star is Born at Venice 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 I was impressed by her solid performance and her powerful, moving voice.

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 was convincing as 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 Wednesday 3rd October 

SEE ALSO: Pictures of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper arriving at the Venice Film Festival

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper at the UK premiere of A Star Is Born


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  2. […] I was like ‘It would be cool if Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper get awards’ for A Star Is Born, I really, really wanted Elliott to be recognised for his supporting role as Jackson Maine’s […]


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