By Hannah Ballerstedt
The sensation that is “A Star is Born” began in 1937 with director William A. Wellman. The film starred Janet Gaynor as a young actress who falls for the famous and troubled Norman Maine (Fredric March). George Cukor’s 1954 remake featured Judy Garland and James Manson. In 1976, Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson retold the story once again.
Now, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper are reimagining “A Star is Born” through a modern lens. The film marks Lady Gaga’s first cinematic lead role and Cooper’s directorial debut.
Cooper plays Jackson Maine, a jaded country-rocker who falls for Ally (Lady Gaga), a talented but self-conscious nightclub singer. Upon their meeting, an unbreakable bond forms.
The couple finds strength in understanding each other’s inner conflicts. Ally does not view herself as beautiful or talented, but Maine believes she is a star. Maine’s battle with addiction does not prevent Ally from seeing his intelligence and kindness.
However, Ally and Maine experience intense personal hardships as the plot progresses. Maine’s increasing dependency on drugs and alcohol begins to affect his gentle nature.
As her lover struggles, Ally encounters fame’s controlling ways as her manager pressures her to fit the image of a conventional popstar.
Lady Gaga and Cooper work together brilliantly to depict Ally and Maine’s tragic love story.
While Lady Gaga has already established her brilliance as a musician, her performance in “A Star is Born” will likely bring her future lead roles. Her portrayal of Ally strays from her persona as an eccentric, glamorous and confident artist. Lady Gaga gives a convincing performance that almost makes audiences forget about her superstardom. Ally’s simple and raw performance style proves that Lady Gaga’s acting ability goes far beyond her usual unconventional creations.
As for Cooper, “A Star is Born” creates an opportunity in his directorial career. The film’s pacing, storyline and artistic quality suggest the work of a well-established director. The complex plot flows effortlessly.
Lady Gaga and Cooper also collaborated on soundtrack for the film. Songs including “Shallow,” “Always Remember Us This Way” and “I’ll Never Love Again” are sure to bring many viewers to tears.
The quality of “A Star is Born” has earned it $42.9 million at the box office opening weekend and received a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival, putting it in the running for Best Picture at the 91st Academy Awards.