A Star is Born is the latest iteration of the "star-crossed lovers" story that has been done three times before: once in 1937, once in 1954, and once in 1976. This version is helmed by Bradley Cooper and stars Cooper and Lady Gaga. The film (if you don't know already) follows an aging and alcoholic musician who helps a young singer find fame while his own career spirals downward. It is one of the buzziest films to come out of the fall festival circuit, and it absolutely lives up to the hype.
I must admit that this film isn't perfect, but it's pretty d**n close. I think that the first two acts of the movie are slightly better than the third act, but the drop is extremely slight, from nearly perfect to "only" amazing. I truly found myself absorbed in this film, as its story is thoroughly interesting and the character development is highly compelling. My only real complaint is that the finale was not as emotionally resonant as it could have been, although the film far makes up for this in its other emotionally impactful moments. I think that the fact that the story has been done so many time speaks to how well it lands with audiences, and that is destined to be the case with this version, too. The lead characters are both likable, the story of their romance is likable, and the chemistry between the actors is great. Perhaps most refreshing is that the film never falls into melodramatic territory, instead feeling like a real portrait of love and fame. The film also does a good job of modernizing the story (one of the main purposes of remakes), without beating it over the head of the audience. Additionally, the film is simply a joy to watch, a result of the combination of a heartwarming love story, a powerful rags-to-riches tale, and some very funny moments sprinkled in throughout.
Additionally, the film is undeniably very well-made. The visuals of the film are great, but the aural elements of the film (rightfully) steal the show. The screening I attended was presented in Dolby Cinema, and while I was initially a little confused as to why this film was presented in a premium format, it makes absolute sense after the fact. Because of the film's sound quality, compounded with the excellent quality of the sound system, I felt absolutely transported into the film. It felt like I was at an actual concert, which was a really cool feeling. I am in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Dolby, I just truly think that is the best experience with which you can see the film. I think that the soundtrack is absolutely wonderful. The songs are diverse, catchy, and meaningful. The standout is definitely "Shallow", but I loved all of the songs to some degree and plan to listen to the soundtrack frequently in the future. Additionally, I thought that the cast did an amazing job. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga both give phenomenal performances, and their chemistry together is uncanny. Lady Gaga's performance is particularly impressive, though, as her emotion really sold the film. Sam Elliot and Dave Chapelle also give strong supporting turns, complementing the leads well.
Overall, I absolutely loved A Star is Born. It is definitely one of my favorites of the year so far, and after re-watches, it may even get that coveted top spot. This is definitely not one to miss, as I'm sure it will continue to make quite a stir.
A Star is Born opens in theaters October 5.
A Star is Born
Big Tuna's Rating: A+
How Did I Watch It?: A press screening.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Yes.
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I look at films as if through old red and blue 3D glasses— one lens is as art, one lens is as entertainment.
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