A classic reborn

‘A Star is Born’ is not your average movie remake

By Justine Walton

It’s the movie everyone is talking about, so here goes: “A Star is Born” follows the life of a rockstar, Jackson Maine, both on and off stage as his world collides with a struggling musician, Ally, who has given up faith in herself. Jack shows off Ally’s talents to the world by bringing her into his realm of fame. The movie follows the successes of Ally as a new, popular artist in the music industry and the downward spiral of Jack’s career as his alcoholism and depression consume him. This movie is also a tragically stunning love story between these two stars. The overlap of stardom between the two happen in a whirlwind of love and passion, and ultimately one star dims and fades while the other one flourishes with brilliance.

Ally is played by the uber-talented Lady Gaga, while Bradley Cooper plays her counterpart, Jack. The on-screen chemistry is so intense that audiences have no choice but to fall in love with and root for these two. While Gaga has had a very successful singing career, this is her first time truly showcasing her skills as an actress in a major role. Her acting seemed effortless and real.  She does an incredible job in the singing aspect – but that’s to be expected. Her acting, however, might leave you stunned. As a testament to her performance, Gaga received an eight minute standing ovation after the film premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on Aug 31. Hopefully this film will not be her first and last big presence in the film industry because she’d be robbing us all of her awe-inspiring talents.

Cooper also did a fantastic acting job – but there is no shock there. What was mind-blowing, however, was the powerful voice that poured out from him when he opened his mouth to sing. Cooper took extensive music and voice lessons to be able to actually perform both in singing and playing the guitar. He lowered his normal voice a whole octave during month of vocal training in preparation to embody Jack’s character on screen. Not only is Cooper starring, he also made his directorial debut with this film. Just as Gaga displayed new talents, Cooper’s talent as a director will hopefully be seen again on the big screen in the future. He knows how to tell a story in front of the camera, and also how to cultivate that storytelling from behind. If he never directs again, this film is a great testament to his talents as a storyteller from all angels.   

The superb acting is only one aspect of this film that makes it so phenomenal. The music and filming are also excellent. The soundtrack has a little bit of everything in it, and the songs written by both Gaga and Cooper evolve with their respective characters throughout the film. The soundtrack is so solid it could stand alone as its own singular creation, yet it is an integral part to the film. When shooting the scenes of Jack and Ally onstage, Cooper and Gaga were truly performing every song – singing, playing, etc. This enhances the realness of this film and also the raw musical talent on both ends. The filming in these scenes is personal to Jack and Ally. As person watching the film, you are planted onstage right along with the two of them and just as caught up in the bright lights, backdrops of cheering fans, and the fast-pace and intensity felt in performing. Stunning shots continue to capture the beauty and the genuineness of this story throughout the film.  

This is the third remake of the original ‘A Star is Born’ released in 1937. Since then, there has been a 1954, 1976, and now 2018 version of the story. However, each one follows a slightly different plot, but they remain the same in their depiction of stardom. This shows how timeless such a story is. It’s timeless because it deals with very real and difficult topics on screen. This new adaptation does a great job at depicting these human struggles. It highlights the flaws in a world that begs for the material, the surface-level, the superficial; humanity has to fight against these things for the real, the bare, the truth, for depth, and for authenticity. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, don’t wait for it to come out on Netflix or to pick it up from RedBox. This film begs to be seen on the big screen. Go to the theaters instead of staying in the comfort of your own home and spend a few extra bucks because it’s worth it. It truly is a film that needs to be seen on a big screen that exemplifies it’s wide scope and can produce the sounds musically in the way it was intended. And then after seeing it in theaters, join the conversation. Because even if the film leaves you speechless the messages portrayed in the movie not only deserve their recognition, but demand to be talked about.

Feature photo courtesy of IMDB

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *