Directed by: Bradley Cooper
Screenplay by: Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters
Based on the 1954 Screenplay by: Moss Bart
1976 Screenplay by: John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion and Frank Peirson
Based on a Story by: William Wellman and Robert Carson
Produced by: Bill Gerber, p. g. a., Jon Peters, Bradley Cooper, p. g. a., Todd Phillips, Lynette Howell Taylor, p. g. a.
Jack’s Band: Luckas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Dave Cahppelle.
A Star Is Born is one of those country love stories because with real love comes the real tragedy of watching a star rise despite people telling her she doesn’t have the right nose and the mega-star musician suffering addiction and tinnitus, slowly losing sense of who he is.
Add music, good music, and you’ve got more than just a love story.
I didn’t go into the film expecting to like the music so much. I’m a ‘No pop no style, I strictly roots’, kinda gal.
But all the singing was recorded live and most of the songs original and written for the film – no miming, just the real voice so you can feel it coming through the screen.
And with the opening scene of Jack (Bradley Cooper) singing “Black Eyes” with band, ‘Luckas Nelson & Promise of the Real’ I was hooked. Sure, Jack was blitzed, but he could still sing a good tune.
Cut to Ally (Lady Gaga), a waitress, heeled boots under a toilet stall, pacing, breaking up with a ridiculous boyfriend – ‘fucking men!’; to her getting ready for a gig singing in a drag bar where you ‘bring your own boobs’ – with pasted fine-line eyebrows, lying back on a bar, her voice slipping over the French as she sings “La Vie En Rose” (Louiguy and Edith Piaf) – there’s goosebumps when Jack and Ally’s eyes meet: they’re soul mates.
The music is used to compliment the story because it’s all about seeing these two together on screen – first time director Bradley Cooper with first time feature film actress Stefani, AKA Lady Gaga.
What a combination – Cooper as Jack with that soulful look off-setting the sometimes-awkward Lady Gaga as Ally, only to be used for added authenticity because we’re all a bit awkward sometimes. And yet, really, she’s not. She just is.
It’s amazing how much I feel like I know this character now. And how I’m relating to this superstar so well – Lady Gaga as Ally is funny, genuine and wow, can she sing.
But it’s the two of them together that really makes the film. I don’t think Ally would have been as believable without Cooper as Jack. And Lady Gaga’s voice lifts the film above the usual country love song.
I was so thankful this wasn’t a musical or music video. A Star Is Born is a well-balanced film with the authentic music matching the love story so when the music got poppy, the story got sad, to go full circle back to the earthy music again to compliment the end of the story.
Even when there could have been a cheesy moment between older brother Bobby (Sam Elliot) and younger brother Jack, all the raw feeling between the brothers was captured in a look from Bobby while backing the car away – everything shown in that one look.
There’s drama here, and it’s a tear-jerker (damn it! I hate getting teary in the cinema) with some perfectly timed moments that were bold, funny, sad and beautiful.
A Star Is Born is one of those real-deal country love stories with all the tragedy and struggle, life-behind-the-curtain stuff, with the added brilliance of the talented songwriter finding her voice in the musician who sees her as clearly as she sees him.
Finally, a dramatic romance worth watching!
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