04 October 2018 (released)
05 October 2018
Movies depicting a talented artist's ascent to fame are nothing new in Hollywood.
Not only are there the 1954 and 1976 versions of A Star Is Born, but of late, there has also been acclaimed features including The Artist and La La Land.
Now, Bradley Cooper has tackled the trope once more in the latest incarnation of the story, though somehow managed to give the plot a 21st century makeover.
Marking his directorial debut, the latest A Star Is Born is based on a screenplay penned by Cooper along with Will Fetters and Eric Roth, and follows the Oscar-nominated actor as the character of Jackson Maine, an established singer-songwriter with an alcohol and prescription pill problem.
Desperate for a drink after a gig, Jackson heads into a drag queen club, where he stumbles across Ally (Lady Gaga) as she performs a jaw-dropping version of Edith Piaf's La Vie en Rose.
Despite being drunk, Jackson knows raw talent when he sees it and insists the singer join him at a bar. While Ally, who has given up on her dream of success, initially takes some convincing, the duo quickly jumps headfirst into a personal and professional relationship, with their chemistry first really shown to its full extent in an early scene where they are depicted coming up with the lyrics for the song Shallow in an empty car park.
The plot reaches a real crescendo when Jackson drags Ally to one of his concerts and spontaneously invites her to perform a duet with him - marking the moment the two artistic souls come together.
However, the world of show business has its pitfalls, with the rest of the plot exploring themes relating to the imbalance of their relationship, the power of celebrity and the loneliness of addiction.
Cooper gives a convincing performance as a gravel-voiced singer who is slowly realising he's past his peak, and particularly shines when singing acoustic ballad Maybe It's Time, while Gaga feeds off of his energy, especially in their onstage performances together - which were recorded live.
Meanwhile, Gaga dives wholeheartedly into her character, stripping away the platinum wigs and artifice her stage persona is known for and instead giving audiences a wide-eyed, brown-haired ingenue - the authentic Stefani Germanotta.
Though this is her first leading role in a feature film, the 32-year-old isn't afraid to show her vulnerable side and gives a nuanced performance in moments where she is required to convey insecurity, especially with regards to her appearance.
Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle deliver as supporting characters, while Sam Elliott will undoubtedly be the centre of awards buzz for his role as Jackson's older brother/manager.
Cooper does a pretty good job of bringing the various threads together too, and even though the final scenes feel a little rushed, the film offers up a masterclass in what a remake should look like.