BEIRUT: Making his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper not only delivers a worthy film, but also an ode to the death of true artistry.
Sure, A STAR IS BORN is nothing new under the Arizona sun, yet something in the way that it executes its narrative not only makes it fresh and authentic, but more importantly, relevant to a 2018 audience.
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.
As Jack’s stardom and fame start to fall apart due to his pills and fading relevance, Ally’s starts to grow, though not without slowly chipping away at her true self.
The screenplay, which is co-written by Cooper along with Eric Roth and Will Fetters, invites the audience on a journey that anyone who has been in a whirlwind relationship can empathize with.
The consequences of lost lives crashing into each other, from fears, joys, doubts, anger, hopes, are all so intimately visualized within every line of dialogue, every bar of music, and every moment of silence.
Adding onto the layer of love, comes the ugliness of what it means to be both a seasoned star and a rising star in the entertainment business today and the amount of pressure, sacrifice, and pain that comes along with it.
This is extremely powerful and apropos to a 2018 audience, who is mostly interested in fame and the amount of followers and attention they get from social media.
A STAR IS BORN does not show the dream as it has been shown throughout the decades of Hollywood films, Cooper breaks that wheel, pulls the curtain, and surely puts his own personal experiences, as he has been in the industry for years, onto the page and fearlessly projects them onto the screen.
From a nostalgic perspective, this film reminds us of old Hollywood romantic films, by activating audiences’ emotions and imprinting themselves deep within the hearts of all who see them.
Cooper’s embodiment of layered and haunted Jackson Maine is some of the best on-screen performance in his entire career - this is Oscar-level delivery here and Cooper knows it.
When it comes to Lady Gaga’s characterization of Ally, there were moments where the character slipped away from her and you were looking at Gaga and not Ally; but those moments were few and do little harm to the overall power of the film.
Whenever the two shared screen-time, it was pure magic, as the chemistry between Cooper and Gaga oozes off the screen and it is sure to melt any cynic’s heart.
One cannot walk away without applauding the rest of the cast including veteran actor Sam Elliot who plays Jack’s older brother, who's seen him in and through, the best and worst of times, and Anthony Ramos, who plays Ally’s best friend and cheerleader Ramon.
Cooper and director of photography Matthew Libatique use this almost first-person perspective throughout the film giving the audience the ability to experience the intoxicating energy of performing live before a crowd.
During all the concert scenes, no wide shots are ever used, instead, the camera stays on stage with the performers looking out onto the massive crowds while capturing the interactions between the singers.
The lens lived inside the performance.
Yet, it was not just the lens that created this overwhelmingly powerful effect throughout the film - the sound design was also architected in a way that allowed for seamless transitions from backstage to centerstage.
To add to that, the musical performances were recorded live which meant that every crackle, cheer, and note was sharply heard.
At its core, the film is not only a story about love, it is a fight for love and staying true to oneself, and how difficult that can be when trying to balance it with one’s ambitions and the merciless entertainment industry.
There is no doubt that A STAR IS BORN will garner multiple Oscar nods including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Song/Soundtrack.
Until then, we are all sure to watch this film over and over again ensuring that we all off the deep end and our feet never touch the ground.
A STAR IS BORN stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga; directed by Bradley Cooper; produced by Bill Gerber, Jon Peters, Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips and Lynette Howell Taylor; the screenplay was written by Oscar winner Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”) and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters.
The film is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and can be seen across all Lebanese cinemas.
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