On October 5, Warner Bros. Pictures released “A Star is Born”, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The film is the fourth remake of a 1930s film about a North Dakotan farm girl whose dream is to be a Hollywood actress. In this modern adaptation, Lady Gaga plays Ally Campana, an undeniably talented musician who struggles to make a musical career because she doesn’t have “the look.” This is until a famous rockstar, Jackson Maine (played by Bradley Cooper), discovers her in a bar and helps her kick-start her career as a singer-songwriter.
At the end of the day, the plot is nothing new, but that is partly why so many people have raved about this movie. In its simplicity, it is the classic definition of a tragedy and the struggles that these characters face are familiar, allowing the audience to easily relate and become attached to the characters.
Part of what makes the struggles of these characters so real is that they are drawn from Cooper and Gaga’s own life experiences. “A Star is Born” can be perceived as similar to “La La Land” as both movies deal with artists who struggle to balance the pursuit of their dreams and love at the same time, facing real hardships that are relatable to a generic audience. In looking at the two films this way, the hype over both of these movies can perhaps be explained.
So with two other adaptations and the original itself, what makes this particular version of “A Star is Born” different from the others? Essentially, it seems to boil down to the passion for the film and the chemistry that both Gaga and Cooper had. In an interview with Vogue, Cooper mentions that he spent a year and a half learning guitar, piano, and working with a vocal coach just to play his role as Jackson Maine. By the end of it, Cooper had written four of the soundtrack songs himself. The songs included “Black Eyes,” “Out of Time,” “Alibi,” and “Too Far Gone.”
In a Vogue interview with both Gaga and Cooper, he attributes a great deal of his
ability to accomplish all of this to Gaga, who he said gave him the confidence. Gaga then tells the Vogue interviewers that from the very first time he sang for her, she heard that he sang from the gut and knew that he had a tremendous voice. She said that she was instantly convinced that he could play the role of a rockstar and from then on believed in him and the film.
In the same interview, Cooper shares that the reason he wanted Gaga in the first place was because he saw her with her hair slicked back, singing “La Vie En Rose” at a cancer benefit. He remarks that her rendition was deeply moving and as he listened to her he felt as if he was almost “levitating.” He tells Vogue that he called her agent immediately afterwards. The next day, he made his way up to Malibu to meet with her about the film.
All in all, the film has received excellent reviews. In fact, Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 90 percent by critics and an 84 percent audience score. Even if the movie does not seem like something you would typically go for, I would highly recommend seeing this film as the acting and the music help create a unique and worthwhile retelling of a classic plotline.