By Tessa Osteen
Lady Gaga’s movie debut in the fourth remake of A Star is Born, has many audiences and critics alike praising her for her role in the Oscar buzz movie. Directed, written, produced, and starred in by Bradley Cooper, gave him a full agenda when working on this film. The first time Lady Gaga’s character Ally, locks eyes with Bradley Cooper’s character Jackson, you can sense the immense chemistry between the two, and you know for a fact Bradley did a great job casting her for the role.
The film first centers around the alcoholic singer Jackson Maine looking around for a bar after one of his shows and stumbles into a drag bar when he catches Ally performing a rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La vie en rose”. Ally a waitress by day and singer by night, almost gives up on her dream of becoming a singer/songwriter until Jackson forces her to sing at his concert, bringing her into the limelight, giving her a taste of life as the singer she’s always dreamt of becoming.
The first time this film was made was in 1937, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. The 2nd film was made in 1954, starring the incomparable Judy Garland and James Mason, and the third film, made in 1976, starred Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. All three of these films were each set in different decades, with three completely different telling’s of the story due to the variation the actors brought to their roles. It is often that when an actor/director writes the film they also star in, it doesn’t always match their vision However, with this film, it seems as if a different person worked separately on each aspect of the film, blending the ideas seamlessly. Even though the story has been told multiple times, this retelling feels fresh and new.
As Ally starts to become famous with record deals, agents, and managers, she starts to become this popstar persona that seems somewhat artificial very different from how she was at the beginning of the film. Along with Ally’s footing into the Hollywood scene, Jackson is dealing with inner demons of his own. The movie deals with the subject of drug abuse in a way that many people can relate to. It doesn’t glorify or put down people with the disease, but instead portrays it in a way showing that recovery is possible if one searches for help. Taking these risks enables both Bradley and Lady Gaga to reach out to a different audience than the film’s original target, a major accomplishment for the film.
The movie, with a running time of almost two and a half hours, has some bold casting decisions. Along with the casting of Lady Gaga, came provocative comedian Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Elliot, and Hamilton alum Anthony Ramos, who plays Ally’s best friend Ramon. Along with the movie, came the soundtrack, which is currently at the top of the charts on iTunes.
In an image based business like Hollywood, it’s easy for performers to lose their way in the fame and the fortune. Ally and Jackson’s relationship reflects this prevalent issue in a modern retelling of this classic story.
Although this is a high budget/high produced Hollywood melodrama, it contains the depth and emotion of a musical masterpiece. Even though it wasn’t perfect, the movie leaves the audience inspired and moved by the profound but heavy subject matter this film holds. As Lady Gaga has been pointing out in press junkets, “…there could be one hundred people in the room and ninety nine don’t believe in you and just one does…”, that’s what A Star Is Born is all about.