Review: A Star Is Born

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Nerve Now’s writer Daniel Harden gives an in-depth review on the new remake of Bradley Cooper’s incredible A Star Is Born.

The love between a master and his/her muse is a story as old as time, however, no such story has been directly remade more than that of A Star is Born. Originally a 1937 film influenced by 1932’s What Price Hollywood? A Star Is Born has been remade 3 times; first, in 1954 starring Judy Garland and James Mason, then in 1976 with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson and now Bradley Cooper cowrites, directs and stars alongside Lady Gaga in the third remake. Despite being told many times before, Cooper’s film is a triumph on all fronts, proving timeless stories are worth telling and can have surprising parallels to real life as well.

The film boasts an impressive cast with performances to boot from Sam Elliot and even Dave Chappelle, however, A Star is Born would be nothing without its star chemistry, and Bradley Cooper and Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, or Lady Gaga as we all know her, have plenty of it. Cooper maturely and authentically inhabits Jackson Maine, the substance abusing rock star who’s a gentleman at heart, however, rather fittingly, it is Gaga who shines the brightest. In a role that feels both personal and poignant for her, Gaga delivers a truly staggering performance that will definitely earn her award nominations and potentially some wins.

Being a third remake, Cooper’s directional debut needed something fresh to add to this timeless story. Fortunately, it finds it through its interesting exploration of issues within the music industry. Of course, the central story revolves around drink and drug abuse in music, because substance abuse and the creation of good music seemingly go hand in hand in reality. It’s timelessness and real world parallels give it effect, however, this isn’t the only issue facing musicians and Cooper knows it. There is of course the timeless story of making your dream come true, in this case making it in the music business, but also the struggle to maintain your identity once you’ve made it. This is why Gaga’s performance is so profound, as her involvement adds a personal touch, Gaga may be critiquing her own pop star career, where she has arguably become more infamous for her style more than her actual talent. Fortunately, A Star Is Born helps change that, not only does it prove Gaga is a wickedly talented singer, but also equally multitalented. She is perfect for this film.

Additionally, A Star is Born’s success doesn’t come in its retreading of well trodden ground, but in its ability to draw emotional resonance from real life love stories in the music industry. The romance between Jackson and Ally echoes that of Talinda and Chester Bennington, but some might argue it resembles Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, however as a Linkin Park fan myself, the former emotionally resonated with me personally, especially when concerning it’s heart wrenching and perfectly directed ending.

Overall, A Star Is Born isn’t just another remake, it’s one that draws intelligently from its timeless story, personal experience and real world love and tragedy to emotionally floor the audience. Both Cooper and Gaga prove they are multitalented with this remarkably heartfelt and personally profound film. With the original winning an Oscar and the 1954 remake getting nominated for 6, can this remake of the 1976 film earn the gold. Most certainly it should.