We all must use our best traits of excellence, as passion plus skill equals impact beyond the grave, sustaining the salt of the earth and the light of the world. True to the expectation of our existence, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut brings everything he excels at in updating the tragically romantic classic A Star is Born for the 21st century.
Before seeing this movie, the horrible, mega cheesy trailer got me worried, I thought despite all the early Oscar attention, this might match The Greatest Showman’s quality, thankfully I was wrong. In fact, beyond just making a dang enjoyable film, the three-time Academy Award nominee exploits his clear skill in acting, singing, and directing. Bradley enhances his reputation beyond just the sincere tear drips he controls, but also shows a grand soul at a small-scale production size that proves bigger is not always better, unless that bigger thing is the heart.
This character of his that represents all of Arizona shares marvelous chemistry alongside Lady Gaga enough to deeply move her performance in a way that will inspire any women watching. The famous pop singer first croons down a dark alley to communicate pain whilst the memorable title card comes up, then tops it off with a heavy-hitting finale she put her entire self into. It’s honestly such a joy to see the similar journey these two love-birds go through, even proving how a conversation about some random bag of frozen peas goes a long way.
Almost the rest of the whole cast puts their best foot forward, including the briefly present comedian Dave Chappelle, whose realistic speech further justifies our care about the main couple. That doesn’t include everyone though, as Rafi Gavron proves unoriginality on the screen he ought to avoid from here on out. This “actor” plays a British guy who serves an antagonistic force with an accent that suggests slight racism. Along with its misrepresentation of those from the UK, there is also a missed opportunity for Mexican representation, considering its Southern US setting, to make this reflect more close-to-home our culture nowadays; look at No Country for Old Men to see Mexicans portrayed in a much timelier fashion.
Although Americans are represented terrifically, as their culture is shown through all the small moments. Much like the mass obsession of appearance, Lady Gaga’s big nose is emphasized, which her character thinks roadblocks her road to fame. Then once her pain is justified, Gaga’s singing no longer sounds 100% pitch perfect, as her voice often cracks as she belts in front of the crowd. Normally, this would prove unprofessionalism, but in this case, our given perspective enables insight on her vulnerability as a growing celebrity. Then away from the spotlight, cute memories are lingered on between the two: peeling off artificial eyebrows, smearing pie on face, moments that naturally trigger laughter with sincerity surpassed beyond any West Side Story duet.
Yet not every moment helps refine the final product, for editor Jay Cassidy (Into the Wild, Silver Linings Playbook) rushes things carelessly to lay out little time passage around some life milestones that come off as ineffective. One unimportant component lingered on includes the usage of old people for the comic relief of misunderstanding technology, which really should have been cut entirely to help the obtrusive scene-to-scene transitions not feel cut too short.
Essentially, it just means this movie has a mind on featuring the world of fame with insurmountable depth. Instead of brash outfits, the costume designer Erin Benach (Drive, The Neon Demon) clearly understands how color complements human form. For instance, Lady Gaga at one point dyes her hair bright ginger, a rags-to-riches transition Benach accommodates to without being over-the-top lavish. Especially when inside the bathroom, the wardrobe remains quiet enough to even make Gaga’s stark work uniform resemble a limiting straitjacket before meeting her beau. The costumes never call attention to themselves, as the noise depicted by the massive shaky-cam is relied upon instead to bulge out the true emotions. In any other project, this technique would come off as amateurish, but here, it helps authenticate every performance, especially when the energetic stage lights illuminate the steam to represent self-expression, achieving whatever 1980s feature-length music videos (Dirty Dancing for instance) attempted.
Yes, A Star is Born is seriously worth glowing on about, even though everything beforehand worked against me having a good time; my ticket was paid out of pocket since MoviePass went flat-out faulty on a night the theater was so packed I had to sit third row from the screen. Yet miraculously, this piece of entertainment, like the passion in superb gifts, left an ultimate impact that knows how to salt the earth and enlighten the world with others who hope to do great.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Desta, Yohana. “A Star Is Born Trailer: Lady Gaga Is Going Country.” Digital image. Vanity Fair. Condé Nast, 6 Jun 2018. Web. <https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/06/a-star-is-born-lady-gaga-bradley-cooper-trailer>.
A Star is Born. Warner Bros. Entertainment. Web. <http://www.astarisbornmovie.com/>.