With this, the fourth iteration of the Star is Born story, we won’t need to go over the details of the story line. We can say that this version staring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga ranks as the best of a very good bunch. The music will sweep you away. The tragic story will break your heart. When a muscular, intimate tale arrives via tremendously talented actors, writers and director we receive a great gift, but one with the power to wrench our emotions.
Bradley Cooper makes his directorial debut with A Star is Born. Cooper has amassed four Oscar nominations, three for best actor and one for best picture. The smart money has him up again, perhaps for nominations as actor, director and producer, an Academy Award trifecta. He also helped write the screen play. Nobody can expect to direct the star with more skill and care than the star himself.
I do not think of Lady Gaga as a movie actress, or think of her very much at all. That is very wrong of me. She has 39 acting credits, nearly all playing herself in one guise or another. But she also has a credit for the Sopranos as ‘girl by the pool’. She also has a mind boggling 215 soundtrack credits. We can safely say that with her glorious role in A Star is Born that she will be back as a big screen actress. Perhaps it is her long stage career as a singer that gives her such solid on screen confidence. She seems like an old pro.
Cooper had most excellent help with the script. Oscar winning writer Eric Roth has his pen in the inkwell. He won his Statue for writing Forest Gump. Also helping out is Will Fetters who wrote the moving romance film The Lucky One. Since the relationship between the young singer and the older and life worn man occupies the core of the film, it makes sense to have input from a romantic writer. There are two or three really great lines that come and go quickly, brilliant without being gaudy.
I cannot over sell this, glorious, wonderful film. Cooper has a sure, deft hand as a director. The script still has a fresh feel even now in the fourth go round. But Lady Gaga sings like an angel with the lungs of a banshee. She would make the movie on her singing, but she doesn’t have to.
Other famous names among the actors include the immortal Sam Elliot, Andrew Dice Clay as Lady Gaga’s father, Dave Chappelle as Cooper’s life-long friend and Alec Baldwin.
This magnificent five saw blade movie runs for a long two hours and 15 minutes. It carries an R rating for adult themes including drugs, booze and sex. Also beware of bad language. Bradley Cooper and the other producers allowed a slim $36 million to make the film but are sure to cash in big.
Previous Star is Born films appeared in 1937 with Janet Gaynor, 1954 with Judy Garland and 1976 with Barbara Streisand. See this one. It will knock your sox off.