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A Star is Born (2018)

A Star is Born: This third remake of the original film from 1937 stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in the lead roles. Most people know the story: Jackson Maine, an alcoholic music who has fallen from his peak, discovers Ally who works in a restaurant and does occasional singing gigs at night. Ally’s success rises as Jackson’s falls. When I watched the trailers, I wasn’t sure if Cooper and Gaga would pull it off, yet that trailer still got me eagerly awaiting its release. The remake is a really smart, well-made and well-acted film that was every bit engaging as I hoped it would be. There are so many good things to say about it. Gaga and Cooper are totally believable and wonderful in their roles, and their chemistry together is one of the things that makes this film absorbing. I actually thought that Cooper of the two had the truly award-worthy performance, which is more amazing given that he also directed the film and that he wrote many of the songs and sings his own music. The other actors are strong – Andrew Dice Clay as Ally’s supportive dad who constantly thinks he can sing better than Frank Sinatra, and Sam Elliott as Jackson’s older brother and manager. The screenplay is very contemporary: Ally and Jackson first meet in a drag club Jackson finds while looking for a drink after a concert; the Saturday Night Live show as a marker of success; the Grammys. The camera work is great – I loved the many close-ups of their faces, and there is one particular shot of Ally early in the film that took my breath away. Finally, it is just a really well-told love story that has so many successful genres woven together seamlessly – addiction, the falling star, the rise of the underdog, the dysfunctional families. Big thumbs up for a film that is pure entertainment with great acting, singing, and story and that has a truly powerful ending. It is an awesome directing debut for Cooper and major motion picture acting debut for Gaga. I had to pleasure of watching this with my Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Dale, and we all loved it. (2018; 4 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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