A Star Is Born / by Kenneth Buff

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5/5 Stars

5/5 Stars

A Star Is Born is easily one of the best—if not the best—film I’ve seen this year. It’s a film that feels both familiar yet original at the same time. Its entire goal is to make you feel. To send an emotion from the screen into you. As an audience member there’s not much more you can ask for from a piece of art than to be moved. And that’s what this film sets out to do, and it does so with style.

The film stars Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, and Sam Elliott. All three are great here. But it’s Cooper and Gaga who steal the show. Both actors play flawed, and charismatic artists. Cooper is Jackson Maine, a world famous rock star who stumbles upon a girl with a beautiful voice, Gaga’s Ally, at a bar one night. They hit it off, and he invites her to a concert. From there things escalate quickly. And if that brief description sounds as if it wouldn’t appear genuine on film, that’s just part of the magic of the movie. The story, the characters, and the performances all feel so real. So true to life that we care about everything that’s happening, and we believe that what is happening is real to these people, and that it matters. It’s an amazing feeling to see someone genuinely enjoying themselves, to see them conquering their fears. But this being a film that doesn’t want to settle for a single note, it also asks you to feel the other side of the spectrum. To experience the sadness of these stars lives when things don’t work out, when things go in fact very very bad.

I will also add that the music is fantastic. Gaga’s voice is beautiful and meshes better with the rock and piano sound than it does with her own real-life pop music. Cooper’s direction (this is his directorial debut) is also very good. There is an obvious intimacy to the shots, and all of it feels very appropriate. The script (which Cooper co-wrote) is also strong, and the three leads bring it to life. Cooper’s dialogue comes out like poetry.

If you’re looking for a film to see this fall, I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation to A Star Is Born. It’s a 2018 must see.