“… lacked the guts it needed to make it a perfect movie.”
A Star is Born features a story that has been told countless times before, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t do a good job of it. The film follows Ally, a struggling artist who gets discovered by country star Jackson Maine. The pair fall in love and have to deal with the trails and tribulations of fame, addiction, and each other.
I really liked this movie. Like I said the story has been done before, but that didn’t take away from the movie in my opinion. I felt that the story started off really strong, introducing both characters in a way that gets us involved and engaged in the story right from the start, and the ending was very powerful as well. There was a point in the middle of the movie that I felt kind of dragged, but I understand why it is there. It felt like this part of the movie was going too well for these characters when you look at the trajectory the film was taking, but it makes sense because it was building up to the big ‘reveal’ (for lack of a better term). When the levee breaks, all that water that had been building up will wash you away.
One thing I did have a problem with story-wise was the inclusion of what was very obviously a tear-bait song at the end of the movie. We get it, it’s sad, but you don’t have to throw Lady Gaga up there and sing a song that was obviously written to be sad just to make us feel something. I mean it worked, not for me but I could hear the sniffles ringing out throughout the theatre, but it just felt disingenuous. The moment would have survived on its own; it would have been more effective on its own. There was no need to try and be manipulative.
Bouncing off of that to talk about the music, it wasn’t as good as I would have hoped. A Star is Born really nailed the marketing by getting people hyped up for the music instead of the movie, but in my opinion it was lesser than the stuff we’ve already heard. All of the best songs are in the trailer, and nothing in the movie really stood out to me as magnificent. What was magnificent is the sound design that replicated the feel of being at a concert. These sequences were great thanks to the sound design, and they really sold the movie for me.
And I can’t finish this review without talking about the performances. There wasn’t one performance that was bad, but Bradley Cooper definitely stood out as amazing among his peers. Although I felt the movie barely scratched the surface in terms of his character, Cooper consistently stole the show when he was on screen as Jackson Maine. The way that he not only conveyed addiction both with mannerisms and even voice patterns, but his reaction to fame was incredible. Jackson Maine truly felt like a real person. Very tragic, but very relatable.
Overall I really liked what I saw in A Star is Born but it kind of lacked the guts it needed to make it a perfect movie. The story was great, the performances were great, the music was fine, but it could have been a bit better if the narrative was tighter and more willing to get dirty.
I give A Star is Born a B