*so many spoiler alerts*
Five days on and I remain under the spell of A Star is Born. First of I must unequivocally state that this is not a movie review. Not only I am far from equipped to comment on any fancy film-making concept relating to camerawork or staging, but my last movie “review” basically amounted to “you either love it or hate it”, which i’m sure you’ll agree is groundbreaking stuff. This is simply the expression of a feeling; a sense that this was something very special and the lingering impact it has had.
In life, it is rare to come across something that not only manages to capture us in a moment but stays with us once a moment passes. Visions of Cooper making goo goo eyes at Gaga etched in my brain; impromptu outbursts of “We’re far from the shallow now”; that feeling of mourning for Jack. This movie has stuck; to the extent that I have found myself nerding out to promotional interviews and critical reviews ever since. Moreover, it has actually driven me to write.
The story is tried and tested. Literally, as it serves as the fourth rendition of A Star is Born. To summarise: Boy meets girl. Boy serenades girl. Girl serenades boy. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy is on his way down. Girl is on her way up. Familiar as it may be, there was something so inherently raw and real about this. The backdrop may have been the stardom of two gorgeously talented human beings but there was little glamour about it.
The music is of course largely contributory to the hype that surrounds the movie. Before the tragedy of the story crushes your heart into microscopic pieces, the music will have you using your sleeve as a tissue. When Ally (Gaga) sets foot on that stage for the first time and Jackson (Cooper) looks on lovingly with his big Arizona eyes as she belts out “I’m off the deep end watch as I dive in”, you’re gone. Caput.
Particularly for me who loves a crooner and has very little interest in the current pop landscape, the music was a breath of fresh air. Between Jackson considering “Maybe it’s Time” to concluding he’s “Out of Time”, this rock and roll served as a welcome interlude. We can kind of understand why Jackson gets so pissed at Ally for singing that awful song about some guy coming around “with an ass like that.”
Within what appears to be a conventional love story, are themes that extend far beyond a whirlwind romance, some of which have more personal resonance than others. Jackson, a long suffering alcoholic, reveals glimpses of the trauma he endured as a child, setting the scene for the movie’s tragic ending. Ally demonstrates complete devotion throughout and is willing to sacrifice her own career in order to support her husband. In the end, Jackson takes his own life to avoid ruining hers and thus A Star is Born.
What might be even more remarkable than a drunk man remembering the lyrics to a song he’s heard only once, is the talent that oozes from these two individuals. As if Bradley Cooper didn’t seem perfect enough with his flowing sandy locks and ability to embody any character on screen, he now can sing flawlessly and direct, no doubt, an oscar winning movie. Similarly Gaga who we knew could write killer songs and perform like a goddess, can now also act and looks like perfection beneath her facade of stage makeup. It really puts into perspective my inability to whistle or follow the routine of a simple step class.
While much of the movie appears bound in tragedy, there is so much positivity to be derived from it. Talent is at its best when unfiltered; having a voice is power; being true to oneself is paramount; love extends far beyond our flaws.
In truth, had I of known the outcome of this film, I doubt I would have gone to see it. I tend to avoid anything that might cause me to feel too much which this did in bucket loads. But I am glad I did. I’m glad I watched Ally sing that french song in the drag bar. I’m glad I watched Jackson peel off her makeshift eyebrows. I’m glad I watched their love blossom and come to its untimely end. I’m glad I watched A Star is Born.
So there you have it. A non review of a movie which I have just reviewed.
5 out of 5 stars.