Movie review: 'A Star is Born'

Katherine Montgomery | Contributing Writer

Courtesy Variety

Raw. Honest. Vulnerable.

Those emotions seem to trademark Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. In this classic remake, Cooper stars as Jackson Maine played opposite by Lady Gaga as Ally. Jack is an established rockstar who’s career is being threatened by his addiction to alcohol and drugs, while Ally is a 30-something year old struggling artist with dreams of one day making it big in the music industry.

Once Jack and Ally meet, their following love story is a roller coaster of intense joys and heartbreaking turmoil as they navigate a balance between their personal lives and careers.

Few would guess this was only Cooper’s first time as the master behind the camera or Gaga’s first time gracing the silver screen. They are two of the most established stars in film and music, respectively. However, in this film, both stars are reborn.

We as an audience have the humbling experience of seeing Cooper take on the role of a rockstar so well that the line between actor and character begins to blur. Even more spectacularly, Gaga blossoms in front of our eyes in approximately two hours as a true actress, a rival to any of the seasoned greats.

When Ally and Jack first meet, the conversation begins slightly awkward and self-conscious in a way that seems almost unscripted. In a world striving to manufacture “meet-cutes,” this scene was refreshing in that it portrayed the nerves and butterflies experienced in the real world when first meeting someone. That vulnerability laid the foundation for a credible love story.

The intimacy and emotions continue to take front row as many of the intense moments that take place are filmed as close-ups. Watching the amount of emotion portrayed without the need for words is a powerful experience and creates an even deeper connection between audience and actor.

As the saying goes, eyes are the window to a person’s soul. And it wouldn’t take much convincing to believe that Ally’s physical insecurities and Jack’s battle with addiction hadn’t stemmed from the real insecurities and turmoil found in Gaga and Cooper’s own souls.

Even though this movie is the fourth take on this particular story, it truly has legs to stand on its own. The story of power struggles and sacrifice in love is a timeless tale in which this modern take reveals much about the fame and downfalls experienced by our modern-day celebrities.

After witnessing the tumultuous love story unfold, we are left to ponder that maybe love isn’t meant to conquer all, and maybe not everyone’s dreams will last forever. But in the end, all that truly matters is staying true to oneself.

As we live in this era of creating avatars, "A Star is Born" is a nice reminder that we will never truly become the star we are meant to be until we strip back the mask and own who we truly are inside.