A Star is Born features a star making performance by Lady Gaga but struggles with pacing that makes the movie feel a lot longer than it is.
Director: Bradley Cooper
Summary: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
There are plenty of stories that can be remade to change with the times and A Star is Born is one of those stories. You throw in a lead performance by one of the best voices of our generation and you have something special. There are plenty of bright spots in A Star is Born but it’s Gaga who really shines as Ally. She hardly looks like herself The original music is all catchy and the movie does a lot to update some key points now that we’re in the modern age. It isn’t an original story, it’s a story as time itself, but the fresh coat of paint director, writer, and star Bradley Cooper has added makes all the difference.
Cooper himself is a very compelling leading man. His character, Jackson, isn’t a great person and they make that very obvious from the moment we see him off of the stage. Cooper doesn’t try to downplay the addiction or show it for anything other than bad. He might be a talented performer but he is self destructing to the point that he’s threatening to take everyone down with him. Sam Elliot is strong and understated as Jackson’s much older brother who will break your heart if given the chance. Cooper’s directing is very good and the idea to focus on views from the stage instead of the crowd gives a different point of view that we don’t see often.
However, there is a misstep and it’s a pretty big one. The central relationship between Jackson and Ally is important to this movie, it fails and the movie fails, but this is a two hour and fifteen minute movie and Ally doesn’t decide to go on tour with Jackson until an hour in. If there was any cuts to be made in that first hour. The interesting things happen after that hour as we watch Jackson and Ally get big and then watch him fall. That is the most compelling part of the movie and it takes forever to get there. It makes the first act feel very drawn out while the second and third acts, more so the third, feel very rushed. That first act could have been cut in half and the movie would still resonate emotionally. That being said while the final gut punches feel sincere there is still a little emotional manipulation with the movie telling us to be sad. Your lead performers are capturing that through their performances; there is no need to add more.
A Star is Born is likely going to put Gaga one step closer to being an EGOT winner and is a worthy addition to this years stack of award films. A tighter edit and running would have improved the experience but it is hardly a deal breaker.
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