Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is the third remake of “A Star Is Born.” He stars as the male lead in this film, while Lady Gaga makes her big screen debut as the leading lady. So, a guy that’s never made a movie is telling a story for the fourth time and he cast someone who has never been a lead in a film. What can go wrong? Not much actually. This is one of the best films of the year, will garner plenty of awards buzz and rightfully so.
For those who don’t know the story, Cooper plays a star rock/country musician who happens to also have a problem with drinking. One night he meets Gaga’s character and he is blown away by her talent. He is determined to see her succeed and their friendship turns romantic, however his downward spiral happens at the same time as her career is finally lifting off the ground.
That has always been the story of “A Star Is Born” and there is no stray in Cooper’s version, which he also co-wrote. The things that make his version stand out from the others are his direction, the acting and the music.
The first shot of the film lets us know immediately that this isn’t another polish on the same old story. The shot is on stage with Cooper and we see him and the huge audience at his concert. We hear how loud it is, we see him going through the motions to get through the gig and when the show is over, the sound is silenced when he enters his car.
After the first watch of the film, I thought it may have been too long and baggy. However, after viewing it a second time, I think everything that was kept in the film was plot driven so it would’ve been hard to remove some scenes.
Cooper and Gaga are both tremendous in their performances. Gaga stripped down to no makeup and at one point I thought to myself, “I’m actually believing Lady Gaga is finding it odd to be on a private plane and Bradley Cooper is comfortable singing and playing guitar in front of thousands.” Add Sam Elliot’s performance as Cooper’s brother and this is an all-star cast.
Finally, the music for the film is gorgeous. Most songs are original, including the big hit in the film “Shallow.” Cooper and Lady Gaga wrote the songs and performed them live for the film. Obviously, it would be easy to let Lady Gaga go crazy and sing a lot in the film, however Cooper actually sings just as much or more.
I could go on and on about why this is a terrific technical achievement by two people who don’t have much experience in the area they chose for this film, however I’d rather you go see it now because it is an important film in the third act. The ending is beautiful and powerful.
I think Cooper cheated a bit using this film as his debut, that is my only knock on it. I honestly didn’t expect to write this but, I can’t wait to see what film Bradley Cooper makes next.
4.5 out of 5 stars.