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  • Writer's pictureTHAheadline (Thai Lee)

"A Star is Born" Made Me Cry A River | Movie Review

Synopsis: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Review: In "A Star is Born," Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga fuse their considerable talents to depict the raw and passionate tale of Jack and Ally, two artistic souls coming together, on stage and in life. Theirs is a complex journey through the beauty and the heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive.

In this new take on the iconic love story, four-time Oscar nominee Cooper ("American Sniper," "American Hustle," "Silver Lining Playbook"), makes his directorial debut, and also stars alongside multiple award-winning, Oscar-nominated music superstar Gaga in her first leading role in a major motion picture. Cooper portrays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers and falls in love with struggling artist Ally. She has given up on her dream to become a successful singer until she meets Jack, who immediately sees her natural talent.

The film stars Andrew Dice Clay ("Blue Jasmine"), with Dave Chappelle ("Chi-Raq") and Sam Elliott, whose nearly 50-year career includes standout performances in such films as "Mask," "Tombstone" and, most recently "The Hero."

Now, let us get down to the nitty-gritty. Shall we?

I must be honest, going into this film, my expectations were extremely low. With the overkill of promotions; from the TV spots and trailers, it was hard to escape hearing about this movie, and honestly, I flat out was not interested.

If you are like me, you sat through 4 to 5 trailers of "A Star is Born," during the 15-20 minutes of trailers before seeing, "The Nun." I sat in confusion as to how a romance film even snuck its way into the previews for a horror film. However, I must say, whoever did the marketing for the movie is a genius because they pretty much told movie-goers, "No matter what genre of films you like, you will love, "A Star is Born."

Fast forward to this past Monday, as I sat in the theater for "A Star is Born." When the film opens, we see Jackson Maine as he is about to go on stage, but not without first swallowing a few pills, easing them down with a swig of alcohol. It plays like the longtime ritual it has become for him, but his connection to the crowd and his performance are undeniable. He is a star. His voice and stage presence instantly reeled me in.

The first time Jack sees Ally, she is performing "La Vie En Rose" at a bar he has wandered into in search of booze, and where every other performer is in drag. Even Ally has altered her looks to fit in as best she can. However, it is her voice that stands out. No lip syncing to the greats, she is simply one. Jack focuses in, immediately struck by the power and purity of her voice. From that point on, I was sold.

In addition to playing Ally, Gaga—who earned an Oscar nod for the song "Til It Happens to You" from the film "The Hunting Ground" —performs original songs in the film with Cooper, which they wrote with a handful of artists, including Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell, and Mark Ronson. The music is original, and ALL vocals for the movie were recorded LIVE during filming. Yes, you read correctly. There was no lip-syncing to a single track.

The singing throughout was so honest and pure, which helped viewers connect to both Jackson and Ally.

Their relationship was merely beautiful and relatable. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship has experienced the complexity of intermingling lives along with fears, joys, doubts, anger, hopes. Throughout their journey, I felt every emotion. I understood what was beneath the surface for these characters and what motivated them. As I watched the film, I felt myself feeling happy when they were happy, sad when they were sad, and confused when they were confused.

Without even realizing, I was deeply invested into the characters and their love story. This movie is about an epic love between two flawed individuals on different trajectories in life who find each other, and I found myself, through them, just wanting to explore the basic human emotions beneath all the glitz and fame.

I applaud Bradley Cooper for his excellent directing, writing and producing skills. He managed to depict a story behind the scenes all while being in front of the camera telling one. The man is great and extremely talented.

Cooper surrounded himself with an equally impressive ensemble cast. In addition to Gaga, he tapped the likes of Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle and Andrew Dice Clay to play roles critical to understanding who Jack and Ally are and where they have come from, along with Anthony Ramos as a friend who has got Ally's back, and Rafi Gavron as a manager who steers her toward her future.

As for Gaga, beautifully talented, Gaga. With this being her first major role, she did an exceptional job. She was the perfect person cast for Ally. Her performance has a lot to do with why I cried like a big baby in that theater.

Though Ally and Jack's entire journey is an emotional one, for one pivotal scene for Cooper's character, Gaga went above and beyond to support her co-star. This scene alone should cause Gaga to win an Oscar! This movie honestly deserves every award from; Best Picture, Actress, Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, and Director; accompanied by other craft nominations.

It is taking everything in me not to give any spoilers. You must see the greatness unfold on the big screen. I am telling you to, "GO SEE THIS FILM!" This film was beautiful. The music, my goodness. That soundtrack is powerful and is out of this world. Everything about this film made you forget that it was after the original 1954, "A Star is Born."

We at THAheadline, take our hats off to Bradley Cooper for putting his stamp on the tale with his contemporary take.

All in all, the original songs underscores every emotion, and an intimate lens captures each look and every touch. To not be affected by this film makes you less than human.

So, be sure to see, "A Star is Born" in theaters everywhere, October 5, 2018.

Rotten Tomatoes Current Score: 94%

THAheadline Score (THAscore): 10/10

Check out the trailer:

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