Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star is Born’ — a remake that gets it right


Ana Costanzo

By Ana Costanzo

Here we go again.

Yet another remake of a Hollywood film long overplayed. Janet Gaynor and Fredric March; Judy Garland and James Mason; and Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson have all played the parts of the rising star and falling man in A Star is Born, each rendition casting actors and actresses of their time.

But somehow even with the countless remakes, this newest rendition starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper seems to fit the puzzle pieces in the right place, creating a noteworthy portrayal on the rise and fall of stardom.

My skepticism for Hollywood overran my emotions when I walked into the theater to see this film. Despite the incredible ravings and 89 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I was convinced it was going to be another lackluster film without any meaning.

Thankfully, Hollywood proved me wrong.

Not only does the film have superb acting with Lady Gaga portraying Ally, a woman who sings in Friday-night drag bars only to be brought up into the spotlight when she meets Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper who is also spectacular when portraying the shaggy-haired singer), a man practically singing into his alcohol bottle while also singing to large crowds of people worshipping his name. Cooper co-wrote it with Eric Roth and though it may not be Orson Welles worthy, Cooper’s direction carries the film forward, the camera fluid in capturing the demons lurking in both actors.

And of course, the music must be addressed. Already, Cooper and Gaga’s A Star is Born soundtrack is debuting at No. 1 on Billboard 200 albums chart. With Gaga’s voice and Cooper’s country singer star persona with a husky lure, the music is enthralling, and will no doubt will get stuck in your head for weeks.

Into the first 30 minutes of the film, the empathetic nature of the characters (including Gaga’s chameleon-like performance, making the audience forget she once wore a meat suit), the skillful writing, and the camera work plummets the audience into a whirlwind of emotion and desperation as both Gaga’s and Cooper’s characters spiral out of control, losing themselves and one another all make for a worthy film, far exceeding all other versions.

If you have seen one version of the film, then you doubtless have an idea of how this film will end. But fret not. Just wrap yourself into the story and the characters, sway to the music and cry into your mother or lover or whoever.

But though this is a Hollywood movie (usually, I tend to look down on such films), there is quite a lot of Oscar buzz whirling around A Star is Born. For the past few years, the Academy has tended to award indie films rather than these blockbuster films, but Cooper and Gage’s A Star is Born is certainly a contender for Best Picture and other awards. And though it seems premature to be considering this film a Best Picture contender considering more films deserving of Oscars will be coming out in a month’s time (watch out for Wildlife, Mid90s, Cold War, The Favourite, and If Beale Street Could Talk), it has the potential to be ranked among the year’s best films. And though my skepticism melted away when viewing A Star is Born, there is a part of me that does not feel the film is deserving of such an award (nomination, yes, but certainly not the award itself) because of the simple yet transparent filming allowing the audience to see and feel the emotions of the characters and the tired storyline that now and again has its original moments.

But nonetheless, A Star is Born is a beautiful rendition of an overdone remake. The acting, directing, and script all buzz with life in this musical drama captivates the audience within the very first minute. This is truly how the Hollywood film should be made.