REVIEW: A Star Is Born is NOT a chick-flick – Bradley Cooper deserves an Oscar

Let me be clear none of this in any way detracts from Lady Gaga’s fine, powerful performance as Ally.

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The film is told through her eyes but its heart – and hers – lie with Bradley Cooper’s beautifully, brutally broken country and blues star Jackson Maine. 

Cooper not only plays the tragic eading man, he also directed, and co-wrote some of the original songs, including my personal favourite, the wonderful Maybe It’s Time.

This is a movie about a good man who has made some bad choices based on a terrible childhood and punishing life in the spotlight. It is raw, real and will rip your heart out at the end.

The film follows the established path of an aspiring and talented young singer, Gaga’s Ally, who nobody believes in, least of all herself.

A chance meeting with the jaded and fading country superstar, Cooper’s Jackson Maine, propels her to stardom – but as one rises, another inexorably falls.

What has always set this tale apart is that it is not the predictable story of the powerful svengali mentor and opportunistic newcomer. Here, both bring out the best in each other, both find something they desperately need and thought they would never find – and both love equally, desperately and with matching passion.

The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is palpable, powerful, exhilarating and almost painfully convincing. Cooper directs their early scenes with a great eye for their insecurities and hopes, longing and fears.

A Star Is Born Bradley Cooper

A Star Is Born: Bradley Cooper (Image: FS )

A Star Is Born Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga

A Star Is Born Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga (Image: FS )

The scene where Maine fixates on Ally’s nose, the thing she feels has always held her back, and turns it into the focus of his desire and adoration, is both extraordinarily touching and erotic.

Their first scenes together on stage are electric. Gaga’s vocal majesty is well known but Cooper is far better than his frequent protestations to the contrary. His voice carries warmth and pain, country rain and blues thunder.

In fact, their vocals echo their performances. Gaga is guts and glory, showstopping and supreme, beautifully modulated. 

She is fearless when stripped of her trademark make-up and flamboyant costumes. She has a natural presence and perfectly capture’s Ally’s longing to be seen and valued, while wary of leaving herself even more vulnerable.

A Star Is Born Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga

A Star Is Born Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga (Image: FS )

Cooper, for me, is the real treat. Less showy, less spectacular but quietly emotional, raw and imperfect. His pain is the heart of this film. It reminded me of La La Land where nothing Emma Stone did would have been possible without Ryan Gosling’s selfless artistry.

Maine’s alcoholic father drove him to attempt suicide at 13. Tinnitus is drowning out his hearing, stealing his talent as he seeks oblivion in pills and liquor, repeating the sins of father. Suddenly Ally offers a shot at redemption, at love.

For the first time he has a home. For the first time he has something to lose. For the first time he wants to be a better man, live a better life. It is the purity of this which underpins the final punch.

As the tragedy plays out its unbearable heartache there is strong support from Sam Elliott as Maine’s much older brother, another man with broken dreams but less demons.

WATCH EXPRESS ONLINE TALK TO LADY GAGA NEXT:

In fact, rather than a girls’ journey to stardom, this is a film about damaged men, all seeking to be better but held back by their own feet of clay.

Ally’s limo-driver father had dreams of singing stardom and “could have been bigger than Sinatra.” He is fiercely proud of his daughter but almost cripples her with his own fears and regrets.

Jackson, instead, battles his father and himself until he at last finds his redemption and his future in Ally. The agonising realisation that she may be better off without him is his final test. It is unbearably cruel and unbearably real and most of us would probably fail it. It is the greatest display of love and the greatest tragedy and Cooper delievers ever moment in mesmerising and magnificent style.

A STAR IS BORN IS OUT NOW.

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Post Author: martin

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Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of BriefNews.eu and PCHealthBoost.info Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

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