Rebirth of a classic musical movie

‘A Star is Born’ still

‘A Star Is Born’ film review

By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist


With awards season happening right now there are a lot of films being released that could win awards. One of the most highly-anticipated films this fall is the new version of A Star is Born. This modernization of the 1954 Judy Garland classic (which was itself adapted from a 1937 film) starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is also Cooper’s first film as a director. Even though I have not seen the original version of the film yet, this remake was like an entirely different film and it is as great as the original by today’s standards.

Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is one of the biggest musicians in the world but also a heavy drinker and a drug addict. After a concert, he goes to a drag club and is mesmerized by Ally (Lady Gaga), who also works as a server and writes her own songs.

When Jackson repeatedly asks Ally to go with him to a gig, she quits her job, attends the gig and shows herself on the big stage. As Ally gets more popular and goes through the music industry machine, Jackson and Ally’s collaboration gets more magical. The film seems like an accurate depiction of the music industry and shows the many problems that a musician has to go through. When Ally makes her first album, her producer, Rez (Rafi Gavron), tells her that she has to make some changes, like change her hair colour and have backup dancers. Ally resents these changes, especially in comparison to Jackson’s approach, which allowed her to be herself. It shows that music producers should give musicians more creative freedom. This message affected the end of the film, which is a bit disappointing.

The songs in the film are great, especially since there have not been many great songs in the last few months until this film was released. The tracks were written by both Lady Gaga and Cooper. Jackson’s songs reminded me of the songs in the Robert Altman film Nashville. Any of them could be nominated for Best Original Song in the Academy Awards next year, including the song Jackson and Ally sing when she shows her musical talent for the first time, “Shallow”. In my opinion, A Star is Born is the best soundtrack of this year.

Cooper’s directing style involves handheld camera movements and close-ups in slow motion, with characters looking at the camera with beautiful images. When he plays Jackson, it is as if he is impersonating Sam Elliott who plays his brother and manager, Bobby. The scene where the brothers fight is as interesting as the scene in Precious when Precious argues with her mother. In A Star is Born we see Dave Chappelle in a dramatic role—instead of his usual stand-up comedy routines—as Jackson’s best friend George. There is also a nod to the original version in the beginning of the film when Ally walks outside of the parking lot in her workplace.

The new version of A Star is Born is an instant classic and it’s great both visually and musically.