The fourth version of this tragic love story features two stars in a way even their biggest fans have never seen before.
"A Star is Born" is the fourth version of a tragic love affair between a fading star who gives rise to an aspiring one. This particular attempt is one aimed at a new generation that, most likely, has not seen the first three. And that's a plus. For those who have, well, you be the judge.
Bradley Cooper, who directs, co-scripts, co-scores and acts in this ambitious film, plays Jackson Maine, a rock star whose demons are catching up with him. While battling his addictions, he unexpectedly meets Ally (Lady Gaga) at a drag queen watering hole and is immediately struck by her immense talent. When he discovers that she also writes beautiful music but won't go on stage because of her insecurities, he's determined to expose Ally's gift. Jack coaxes her to come to his concert and manages to get Ally to sing a duet with him. Immediately, the chemistry between them explodes musically and romantically. Their fusion is electrifying.
As Ally soars to super stardom status, Jackson falls deeper into depression. An inner ear problem is intensifying as is his alcohol and drug use. As his brother/manager, Bobby (Sam Elliott employing his signature swagger), tries to help Jack, his efforts are in vain. Even as Ally's unfaltering love remains steadfast, it's lost on Jack. He's doomed.
As a first-time director, Cooper kicks ass. As an actor, he's never been better. As a composer and musician, GTFO! His take on "A Star is Born" is incredibly personal and unique. It's evident that he put forth immense effort and extensive training into becoming Jackson Maine, but it's Lady Gaga who's the "star." Cooper seems to have allowed the story line to take a backseat to the musical productions in an obvious move to display Lady Gaga's genius. Cooper is, most definitely, a gentleman and a scholar.
Lady Gaga honors his generosity by delivering a totally knockout performance. It's as though she has always been a screen actor. She is so in control that she can make a tear come out of one eye. But it's her voice that shines so bright it brings tears to our eyes.
Cooper gives a nod to the other three productions on numerous occasions in this stunning film. But it's a version of the quote from, now, all four films, that takes on a new meaning. "I just wanted to take another look at you. Could it be Cooper's reason for making "A Star Is Born?"
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