Fifteen year-old me would laugh his ass off if he saw me now in a theater crying from the movie I was watching. It’s true, movies can make me shed a tear or two, product of getting older I suspect. It’s something that once embarrassed me but now I embrace simply because it means I’m experiencing the movies I watch now with a greater appreciation for the art as a whole. Through life experience I can now easier empathize with the characters on the screen allowing for a more emotional punch when something tragic happens or something so deliriously uplifting one can’t help but smile through the tears.
A Star Is Born is an effecting film on both sides of the coin. The moments when everything falls into place for our hero couple one can’t help but bask in their euphoria that bursts off the screen with a kind of authenticity not often seen in a romantically driven drama. On the other side of it all are the moments that make you want to yell at the screen pleading for these people you’ve fallen for to stop their destructive behavior. It seems so obvious to avoid their trappings of success and yet in they fall creating a tragedy all too personal. While their failings may be amplified by their successes their inherent shortcomings have been within them from an early age. No matter the opulence a person may gain the problems of our mental handicaps will not only maintain but as I said, become magnified if left unchecked.
Making his directorial debut Bradley Cooper demonstrates a clear talent for organic storytelling not only in front of the camera but now behind it as well. His chemistry with Lady Gaga is palpable and in a beautiful kind of irony, their on screen relationship is like a car wreck in slow motion. Anyone who’s ever been in a car accident knows that usually reaction time is often seconds at most. The relationship between Jack (Cooper) and Ally (Gaga) is a beautifully slowed down wreck that is so enchantingly catastrophic you can’t help but watch even when everything crashes in a pile of human tragedy you find yourself watching wide eyed and mouth agape.
It’s like the conundrum faced by Amy Adams’ character in Arrival: Knowing what awaits the fate of her own daughter does she still make the decision that will ultimately bring her child into the world only to face the impending tragedy? You can see the end coming for Jack and Ally but it’s such a fascinating journey with a captivating connection between two broken souls it asks if you would take the leap like them knowing the outcome? The journey is enticing but the end is anything but.
Much like Alex Garland’s sci-fi masterpiece Annihilation, A Star Is Born is, in large part, about self destruction. Not just about self destruction it’s knowingly participating in the act with habits like smoking cigarettes or excessive drinking (as examples). We yearn for life but participate in things that, like smoking or alcoholism, cause life to eventually end often unexpectedly. It’s that self destruction that is unfortunately what makes A Star Is Born so devastating but so gripping as a fairytale burns down into a cataclysm.
Lady Gaga shows what we already knew, that her vocal talents are boundless and wondrous. Where she shines equally as bright are in the moments between the songs when it’s just her and Cooper losing themselves in one another. They are as natural and authentic as a musician holding a guitar losing themself in the music. She is at times simultaneously triumphant and defeated but always mesmerizing in a performance surely to be noticed this awards season. Both Cooper and Gaga have nominations in their very near future.
The performances, the music, the direction, the script and the chemistry are testaments to a film being approached properly and with the utmost conviction in every manner. With a bit of luck on top of all the talent I’m sure, A Star Is Born is a star all its own as a destined future classic love story. The stars have certainly aligned for this one.
Rated R For: language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse
Runtime: 135 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle
Directed By: Bradley Cooper
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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