A musician helps a young singer find fame as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.A musician helps a young singer find fame as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.A musician helps a young singer find fame as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
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This is not the only, or first, 'A Star is Born' film. There is one from 1937 with Mitzi Gaynor and Fredric March, my personal favourite. There is one from 1954, the most famous, which is overlong but does contain Judy Garland's best ever performance and terrific songs (especially the heart-wrenching "The Man That Got Away"), love James Mason in it too. There is the 1976 film with Barbra Streisand, personally don't care for it but Streisand sings beautifully and "Evergreen" is to die for.
As far as the versions of 'A Star is Born' goes, this one from 2018 compares extremely favourably. Not quite as good as the 1937 film, but on the same level as 1954 and better than 1976. May not love it as much as others, but the appeal is justified and the acclaim is deserved from my personal perspective. In terms of films from 2018, 'A Star is Born' is among the better ones.
It's not perfect. A few story elements are a touch rushed and lack credibility, like Ally getting stage spotlight in such a short space of time, and occasionally it's a little on-the-nose like the making Ally glitzier advice from Rez.
The final act also could have been tightened, slightly too padded and dragged out.
What 'A Star is Born' does so well is taking a familiar story and making it still fresh and relatable. It's always entertaining and glamorous yet the love story is every bit as important, and even more so, and is both charming and emotionally impactful. Everything about 'A Star is Born' is slick, endlessly entertaining and with lots of heart and surprising poignancy, also had the experience of not a dry eye being in the auditorium with tears silently rolling with me.
Visually, it's very eye catching and sumptuously made, beautifully shot with lots of glitzy glamour and style. Loved the songs, none are quite on the same level as "The Man That Got Away" and "Evergreen" but they are extremely well written, easy to remember, have a wide range of emotions, are very well sung and staged, are integrated beautifully integrated into the story, some moving the story forward or telling it through the song rather than being a grinding things to a halt distraction. "I'll Never Love Again" and "Shallow" stand out.
Dialogue has wit and heart and the story shines particularly in the first third. Cannot say anything bad about the performances, with Lady Gaga providing a contender for the most surprising performances of the year in a quite outstanding acting debut (her singing is also absolutely great of course), a star is born indeed. Bradley Cooper gives one of his best performances as a charismatic and charming yet conflicted leading man, do not associate him with musicals and worried as to whether he would fit but it fits him like a glove. He too directs for the first time, and it is hard to believe that a directing job this slick and audacious was only his debut, really do disagree about his contributions being a vanity project with so much effort being put into everything. There is fine support from particularly Sam Elliott and the chemistry between the two leads is wholly believable.
Altogether, very, very good and often splendid. 8/10 Bethany Cox
- Oct 18, 2018