A Star is Born Review
A Star Is Born (2018) | Dir. Bradley Cooper | Cast: Andrew Dice Clay, Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott | Writers: Bradley Cooper (screenplay by), Eric Roth (screenplay by), Frank Pierson (based on the 1976 screenplay by), Joan Didion (based on the 1976 screenplay by), John Gregory Dunne (based on the 1976 screenplay by), Moss Hart (based on the 1954 screenplay by), Robert Carson (based on a story by), Will Fetters (screenplay by), William A. Wellman (based on a story by)
Even if you haven’t yet seen the 2018 box office hit A Star is Born (like me), the story is likely familiar by now: an aspiring singer/songwriter meets a famous rock musician who recognizes her talent and uses his fame to help put her in the spotlight. The two fall in love, and, well, a star is born. Romance, excitement - and a touch of the predictable.
And while that is all true, I found much more to chew on in this Bradley Cooper-directed film than I admit I expected. The compelling grit and rawness that Lady Gaga brings to the role of Ally, the aspiring singer, grounds the story and keeps it from getting schmaltzy (and her vocals? Amazing, of course). The tender ugliness that Bradley Cooper invests into the alcoholic rocker Jackson actually had me liking Bradley Cooper in a role for the first time. The shifting power dynamic in their relationship as their respective careers rise and fall feels complex, uncomfortable and powerful.
Even the songs, written by Gaga and Cooper alongside a handful of musicians and recorded live during filming, are both touching and catchy. The film’s eight Academy Awards nominations, including the big three of Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress, are well deserved, and while it may not be my pick for best film of 2018, it certainly deserves to be in the running.
A Star is Born is available now on digital download from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and will be released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on 11 February.
Any big fans of the film and/or the stars will want to go for the 4K Ultra HD or Blu-ray if they can, as it includes several extra features not found on the DVD, including jam sessions and featurette The Road to Stardom: Making A Star is Born. All disc formats include the music videos for ‘Shallow’ and ‘Always Remember Us This Way’.