The blog post, ‘A Star is Born (2018) movie review’, is sponsored by ODEON Cinemas. Sign up for a Limitless card and see as many films as you want from as little as €19.99 a month – or go check out one of their many screens, where they still serve warm buttered popcorn. Yes, really.
It took me a while to get over A Star is Born. That’s not a spoiler. Oh, listen, maybe it is. If you know me well – or have followed me online for any time at all – you’ll know that I’m a very emotional cinema-goer. I’ve never seen all of Bambi because I was so traumatised by the opening scenes. It doesn’t take a lot to take a lot out of me. But A Star is Born truly did.
A Star is Born is a little bit of everything
I don’t say that dismissively; A Star is Born is the type of movie you could go to with your extended family and there would be something for everyone. There are echoes of musical theatre in, duh, the musical numbers; there’s love; there’s action; there’s hard liquor and fighting and drag queens and Lady Gaga dressed (convincingly) as Édith Piaf, singing La vie en Rose complete with glued-on eyebrows.
There are moments in Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut that reminded me, of Coyote Ugly, of my beloved Nashville and then, of my beloved Burlesque, but perhaps, had I seen more high-brow movies in my time, my comparisons would be different. It’s a real, Hollywood movie – it’s big and it’s bright and it’s oddly believable, odd because Cooper and Gaga are two of the world’s most famous humans, so to see them in a movie, convincingly portraying an almost-dried-up country music star, and a waitress with musical ambitions (respectively), and to believe both, is a testament to Cooper’s skills as a director and to their own skills as actors.
It’s the kind of movie you lose yourself in
Sure, it’s a twee tale; downtrodden waitress Ally (Gaga) meets country music superstar Jackson Maine (Cooper) in a bar at which she happens to be singing, and he lifts her out of her mundane life and into his world. But there is something about the subtlety of Cooper’s performance, coupled with an unexpectedly adorable Gaga that just makes this work. To watch a film and not to have any moments of eye-rolling – well, it’s not like me.
If it helps at all, the friend I brought – who is not a big fan of Nashville or Burlesque, although she does like country music and I think she was genuinely disappointed about the Garth Brooks debacle – turned to me, about 20 minutes into the movie, during a scene in which Cooper puts Gaga’s finger into his mouth and whispered, “I think this is the best film I’ve ever seen.”
A Star is Born probably won’t end up being the best film you’ve ever seen – but I have a feeling that it might end up being one of the best films of 2018 and that, furthermore, Cooper has that best film ever inside him somewhere. It may even end up starring Lady Gaga.
P.S. If you’ve seen A Star is Born and would like to discuss how weird it would be to see its original casting, with Beyoncé as the lead, please do comment below because I wish to discuss this imaginary scenario also. Kthx.