By Junior Reporter Celeste M.
A Star Is Born (2018) is a tragic love story between two musicians that details the downsides to fame and the effects it can have on the relationships with loved ones. In a lot of ways, A Star Is Born is just a cautionary tale about stardom and the value behind it. But before we get into the actual review, I believe it is essential to tell you a little about the history behind the concept.
A Star Is Born has been remade three times since 1954. The film made in the aforementioned year starred Judy Garland and James Mason. Mason played Norman Maine, a Hollywood actor, and Garland took on the role of aspiring actress Esther Blodgett. In 1976, Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson played John Norman Howard—a rock star on the decline, and Esther Hoffman, a singer at a club. In the final adaptation of A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star as country star Jackson Maine and struggling artist Ally. The original version, however, made in 1937, stars Janet Gaynor as a young actress who becomes the protégé of Fredric March’s Norman Maine, but they end up falling in love.
While each adaptation plays its own little homage to the original version (just look at the names of the characters), they each hold their own as a compelling story about the struggles of trying to make it in the industry. In addition, each film is adapted in a way so that it reflects the time period in which it was made. For instance, a 2018 version where Lady Gaga plays a pop star (fitting) and Bradley Cooper plays a country star? Totally 2018. A 2018 version where the two main characters meet because they’re starring in a musical? Hey, I love musicals just as much as the next guy, but you have to admit that it doesn’t quite fit 2018.
If I had to sum up my opinions without making this review too long, I would have to say that the most recent remake of A Star Is Born is truly a work of art. I will say that as soon as I walked out of the theater, I downloaded the entire soundtrack and listened to it nonstop for the next twenty-four hours. Maybe that’s because I’m a hardcore Little Monster, but I’d attribute it to the musical genius of the composers behind each of the songs. The lyrics were beautiful, the music catchy, and the acting? On point. Not to mention, Bradley Cooper deserves serious props for composing, directing, acting, and singing in this movie. I mean really, leave some talent for the rest of us. The movie had a tragic but fitting ending for the characters, and the final scene which showed a shot of Lady Gaga after she just finished belting a beautiful note could make anyone emotional. However, I do have some criticisms.
To put it simply, the movie was a little too long. That could be forgiven, considering the running time for all A Star Is Born movies is right around three hours, if not more. I get that it takes a while to really tell a beautiful story, but it still somehow managed to feel incomplete and leave out essential parts of the story. For instance, I recently learned that an integral part of Lady Gaga’s character was her faith, but that was not shown at all. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but as far as I’m concerned, there was only one scene (that, I should mention, felt completely out of place) where Ally (Mother Monster’s character) was seen praying before a show with her crew. And, might I add, the climax of the movie was Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper’s character) doing something incredibly stupid and damaging Ally’s career. Or so they tell us. Seriously, we hear constantly that he almost ruined her career, but not once do we even hear a headline about the incident! It’s almost as if no one cared! But if no one cared, then why did everyone make such a big deal about it?!
To conclude, A Star Is Born is an amazing film with an equally amazing soundtrack. Traditionally, these films have gone on to win many accolades, and I have high hopes that during award season, A Star Is Born will be one of those films that breaks records over and over. Hey, maybe it’ll be like Titanic all over again. Kate, Leo, Mama Monster, and Bradley Cooper are seriously about to give you a run for your money.