Keep your tissues and waterproof mascara ready; A Star is Born will tug at your heartstrings. The soulful acting and music will stay with you for a long time. The actors who played the parts of Jackson Maine and Ally—Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga—found it so difficult to shed their characters that they changed their appearances soon after the film shoot, according to a report. For Cooper this meant getting rid of the greasy man bob, and for Gaga it meant uncovering her tattoos and dyeing her hair back to blonde.
The reboot of the Hollywood film first made in 1937, and remade in 1954 and 1976, paints a realistic picture of the music industry, addiction and relationships. The movie is about Maine, a country musician on a downward spiral. He meets Ally, an upcoming artist who works in a restaurant. Ally and Maine are fleshed out—real people with real struggles. The movie has it together in most aspects, right from camerawork by Matthew Libatique, vocals by Cooper and Gaga, and costumes by Erin Benach.
The story, adapted from the original by William Wellman, is brilliant. Bradley Cooper has the narration pat down. The plot could easily have descended into kitsch; rather, it affords you a sense of proximity to Maine and Ally's lives. It delves in and out of Maine's complex relationship with his half-brother (Sam Elliot), Ally's pally relationship with her dad, and coming to her own as the movie progresses. While each thread is explored separately, everything ties seamlessly towards the end—including Maine's horrific past that seems to have made him what he is. There is no over-emphasis on Maine’s addiction; it is just one among a plethora of factors that steer the story to its due end.
The movie also highlights aspects of the music industry and its relationship with the media—the vanity, meriting looks over talent. While Ally's tale begins on a high of sorts, it certainly has its shades of grey and the makers have stayed true to the colour of the story. Finally, the performances by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga—or a raw, stripped down version of the pop star—are on point. From the time she is smitten by Cooper, to when she calls out to him for his alcohol abuse, Gaga is a natural. The 2017 Oscar best film nominee La La Land may just pale a bit in comparison to this jewel.
My advice: Watch the movie, come out of the theatre, and listen to the gorgeous soundtrack on loop. For me, its back to blaring Shallow on repeat.
Director: Bradley Cooper
Cast: Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta), Bradley Cooper, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliot