Movie Review: Truly, A Star is Born

A Star is Born
Movie Review: Truly, A Star is Born
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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There’s something truly special watching a movie and witnessing the debut of a true star. Even more miraculous is watching two debuts of equal power. With Warner Bros. newest remake of A Star is Born, that dynamic duo is Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

In Cooper and Gaga’s care and focus, a masterwork in filmmaking has been born. The film is equally entertaining with its music and gripping plot as it is poignant and important thematically. From its cinematography to editing to original songs, each aspect of the film has been crafted with careful attention.

After three incarnations before, finding originality in this story was going to be its greatest challenge. Mixing the best elements of its predecessors was the secret: the original A Star is Born in 1937 is a drama. The 1954 version is a musical. The 1976 version was a rock musical. The new 2018 version is all of the above.

The basic story traces singer/songwriter Jackson Maine (Cooper) discovering singer Ally (Lady Gaga) performing in a bar. With Jackson’s encouragement, Ally launches her career into music stardom. Soon however, they both must face their past demons.

Simply, it is the best movie of the year.

Both Cooper and Gaga have made the greatest artistic works of their career with this film. Yes, she has made cameos and television appearances before. And he is no stranger to starring in blockbusters. But this is Gaga’s feature film debut as a scripted character. And this is Cooper’s first time in the director’s chair.

Cooper shows a range of skills as the film’s director, but the revelatory presence on-screen is Gaga as Ally. This is no celebrity performance as themselves only to sell tickets – it’s a master class of acting.

A Star is Born

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

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Gaga’s movement, speech, posture, attitude and aura are unlike anything she’s done before. Ally is a fully realized and captivating character. Her performance is the stuff that defines careers, as was true for Barbra Streisand in 1976. Gaga is going to win a cabinet of awards for her work in the movie.

Unlike earlier versions, the basic story highlights the challenge of addiction and the fear of performing. The film teaches audiences that everyone has talent, regardless of circumstance. What matters is what you have to say as an artist and you choose to say it.

When explaining how to reinvent a performance, Jackson tells Ally “It’s all about 12 notes. That’s the octave, then it repeats.” That’s the story of A Star is Born in a nutshell. Despite listening to a recognizable story, the debut of its starring performer elevates the film to something astonishing.

It’s remarkable how the same story over and over, even after 81 years, can surprise audiences. For today’s audiences, there’s a vulnerability to how these characters interact, and it shows the raw depth fame can expose in artists of all kinds.

Cooper’s brilliant, new A Star is Born is the clear frontrunner for this year’s Best Picture at the Oscars. It matches if not resets the bar for great romance films. Most importantly, and simply, it is the best movie of the year.

A Star is Born

4 out of 4 stars
14A, 2hrs 16mins. Musical Romance Epic.
Written and Directed by Bradley Cooper.
Starring Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliot, Anthony Ramos, Anthony Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. James Brown says:

    Although Tyler Collins is my favorite movie critic, I must disagree with his review here. I saw “A Star is Born” over the Thanksgiving long weekend, and was very disappointed. In my opinion, the leads can’t act and they don’t have chemistry. In addition, I found the story to be insipid and the language is vile. Personally, I found the best thing about the film to be Lady Gaga’s singing. It’s excellent, but not worth the price of admission. My advice to one and all is to skip seeing this film.


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