A Star Is Born (2018)

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A Star Is Born (2018)

Directed by Bradley Cooper

Based on the story by William A. Wellman, Robert Carson

Screenplay by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay

A successful musician (Cooper) helps a young singer (Gaga) find fame, even as his own demons send his  career into a dangerous downward spiral.

This is the fourth feature film version of the classic story by William A. Wellman (The Ox-Bow Incident) and Robert Carson (You Gotta Stay Happy). That number doesn’t include a handful of productions that are also based on the story, but don’t share the name. This time the script was written by a team that included Eric Roth (The Insider), Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters (Remember Me). In addition to his role in the film, Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) also took on the job of director. The cast also includes Lady Gaga (Muppets Most Wanted), Sam Elliott (The Big Lebowski), Dave Chappelle (Half Baked), and Andrew Dice Clay (Blue Jasmine). This film would eventually earn eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

The challenge of bringing an old story to life in a new way fell to the trio of men who wrote this script. Roth, Cooper, and Fetters did a nice job bringing this story into the 21st century. The script does a nice job of jumping right into the central relationship that drives the story. Ally and Jack are wonderfully written with unique personalities that really hold up throughout the film. They’re surrounded by fascinating characters who all add great texture to the world of the film.

The story does a really good job allowing the characters to be flawed, sometimes deeply. These flaws create the drama that makes this one such a success. There are many highs and lows for the main characters in this one. Thanks to good writing, they all feel like part of the natural progression of the story. It’s always interesting to see how a new generation treats a classic story like this. I would argue that the best version of this film is still the 1937 original. Luckily, this is a really great attempt to match that film. The script also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

This film features an incredible cast of talented actors. Bradley Cooper added to his workload by co-starring in this one alongside Lady Gaga. If you weren’t sure that Lady Gaga could act, this movie might help to change your mind. While Cooper delivers a wonderful performance, Gaga matches him step for step. Cooper’s role is dark and troubled, and his performance accentuates the roller coaster of emotions.  He also does a good job keeping up with the musical demands of his role. Lady Gaga was an excellent choice for her part in this one. Not only does she do great work with the music, but she also handles the dramatic demands of her role. When I think about great work, it would be unfair to leave Sam Elliott out of the discussion. He delivers one of the best performances of his career. There isn’t a bad performance throughout this one. Dave Chappelle and Andrew Dice Clay add nice work to the mix, as well as a number of other great actors. The cast was well-represented at the Oscars. Lady Gaga earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, Cooper was nominated for Best Actor, and Sam Elliott was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

The production value of this film is really solid. The costumes, makeup, sets, and locations are all really great. Matthew Libatique (Straight Outta Compton) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The film also earned a nomination for Best Sound Mixing. The last nomination this film received was for Best Original Song. Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt share the nomination for the song “Shallow”. The music throughout the film is wonderful, and much of it showcases Lady Gaga’s vocal range and ability to adapt her style.

This is a really great movie that took on a legendary story and made something special with it. If you’re a fan of the stars, this is one you need to see. I would also suggest this to anyone who has enjoyed previous versions of this movie. This film is a tragedy, then a drama, and finally a romance. There is so much to like. I give this one 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 136 Minutes

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