A Star is Born is yet another remake of the 1937 film of the same name by William A. Wellaman with Janet Gaynor. The film is passed by Judy Garland, then Barbra Streisand and now Lady Gaga. Writing the screenplay was Oscar winner Eric Roth, along with Will Fetters and Bradley Cooper, who made his directorial debut with this film. Here is the review
The plot is always the same, a young girl, in this case Ally (GaGa), with a great talent for music meets an already famous singer, Jackson Maine (Cooper), and thanks to him begins his path to fame, causing a new star to be born. But there are details in the script that do not make it anything but trivial.
The film has a very dark side, because it deals with very important problems. There is a great critique of the show-biz world, which focuses too much on the aesthetic aspect and not on talent, as if it were in the background. It deals with the price of fame, which is different for Ally and Jackson. She finds herself no longer herself, he has an unhealthy lifestyle because he drinks a lot. Furthermore, there is also space for interpersonal dynamics, not only between Ally and Jackson, but also between them and the fathers. Heavy arguments that make A Star Is Born strongly dramatic.
But there is a but. The screenplay sins of superficiality. Some of these topics are not treated in full. Like, for example, Jack’s alcoholism and even family relationships, especially that of Ally with his father. And all this is counterproductive, more so for the character of Cooper. Character inspired by Kurt Cobain, even physically, but with whom I found it difficult to make contact, I felt little empathy for him. And it’s a paradox since his character is decidedly more central and better described than Ally.
For Ally, it’s a bit different. I found it a fantastic character described a bit too little. The relationship with the father is treated badly, but I liked the rest, because she is strong, but at the same time fragile, she is fun, even very irreverent and also very direct. It is not the girl who thinks only of the physical aspect, so it is rather limited, a bit stupid and easy. She is very mature and knows how to be anything she wants when she wants. That is, she knows how to be provocative, she knows how to be shameless, she knows how to be composed. The problem is that there are so many questions about her and it’s a shame because she’s the character that brings the film forward.
The screenplay manages to juggle all the moments, from the dramatic ones, to the charismatic ones in which the music is king, to the comic ones, which are very funny. The attention to music is so great, the music is just a pillar and this allows the film to be very charismatic. GaGa is not an actress, and in general the idea was still to take a singer for the role of Ally (the first choice was Beyoncé), but make her play the part of a singer with a story similar to her and make her perform a lot gave the film a lot of energy and we are literally overwhelmed by it.
What instead cares is the attention to Ally, which at some point is waning. I do not know if it was Cooper’s idea or not, but in the second part his character becomes too central and, as mentioned before, there is not that great empathy. So that centrality is an end in itself. I would have preferred it had been him to step aside.
Cooper is also behind the camera and I do not mind his work, but I have not even found it as beautiful as I had heard. I did not fully appreciate all its stylistic choices. For example, the hand camera. Interesting, I liked it, but it has abused it. When he went to the cart, or at least something more fluid, I was very happy. Beautiful close-ups, which are mostly on him, but built well.
You also notice that Cooper has taken over from the old musicals, the beginning seemed like Cabaret (extraordinary film), their alchemy reminded me of Singin ‘in the Rain, another great musical, and, of course, the various A Star Is Born. However, I did not understand why so few fronts. Not that I’m sorry for the alternatives, but some I found them senseless.
The soundtrack is crazy. I liked the songs a lot, I found them very varied and involving. “I’ll Never Love Again” is tearful.
The film has a great sound mix. Being a film based on music obviously sound is an important part of the film’s performance. And in this case it was done well. You feel the power of every single note and you have the feeling of being at a concert.
Great beautiful photography, but it’s something that happens often in musicals. The colors used have very warm and touched tones and is an effect that combines well with the love story between the two protagonists and their passion.
The last note is always for the actors, but I do not have much to say. I liked Gaga, she was good but she also arrived as long as she could, because she’s not an actress anyway. But we see that she worked on it and was very charismatic and this allows her to fill that gap, due to the fact that it is not her job, and to capture the entire attention of the viewer. Cooper was subdued for me. He did better. He can do better.
The review ends here. I invite you to tell me about this film in the comments section, if you liked it, if you are interested, if you go to see it. I thank you for taking your time to read my review and I invite you to share it if you liked it and, I recommend, follow me or here with e-mail, or on Twitter or Facebook.