Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is a famous rock singer. He is still, as they say, on horseback, his concerts gather full houses, but this is unlikely to continue for a long time: Jackson has hearing problems, cannot withstand this whole concert race, so he is heavily dependent on alcohol, drugs and pills.
Once, after another concert, Jack was driving home in a car and he ran out of booze. He asked the driver to stop at the first Blue Blue bar he saw. They are in a suspicious area, the driver does not advise Maine to go out, but he still goes to a bar.
It turned out that the bar hosts performances of transvestites. At some point, a girl comes on stage and sings a song in French. She immediately attracted the attention of Jack, he met her and found out that the girl’s name was Ellie. Jack drags Ellie with him to another bar where the cops are drinking, one drunken cop is behaving completely shamelessly and gets punched in the jaw by Ellie as a result.
Well, then Jack will treat Ellie’s hand, she will compose a song for him impromptu, after which Jack will invite Ellie to attend his concert, which will take place the next evening.
No, this is not a biopic of Stephanie Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga. Moreover, it is a remake of a remake of a remake.
It all started with the 1937 film A Star Is Born. There, however, the plot was once a popular and heavy drinker actor Norman Maine (Frederic March), who made a movie star out of the waitress Vicky Lester (Janet Gaynor), and he himself drank himself. Six Oscar nominations.
Next up is A Star Is Born, 1954. Movie star Norman Maine (James Mason) turns singer Vicki Lester (Judy Garland) into a movie star, and he himself drank himself. Six Oscar nominations and two Golden Globes.
And finally, “A Star Is Born” in 1976. Hard-drinking rock star John Norman Howard (Kris Kristofferson) hears singer Esther Hoffman (Barbra Streisand) in a nightclub, arranges for her to have a career, and he himself becomes an alcoholic. Three Oscar nominations, plus one win, for a total of five Golden Globes.
And who’s to judge Bradley Cooper, who directed his take on this win-win storyline and whose “A Star Is Born” received eight Oscar 2019 nominations, including Best Picture, four Golden Globe nominations, plus one win for Best Original Song. “?
However, let’s give credit to Bradley – the film turned out to be good. And as a directorial debut, it’s just great. Despite the somewhat hackneyed plot, the picture, in my opinion, looks very good. Yes, the characters lack a deeper elaboration, yes, some episodes are made too simplistic, but there is the main thing that makes the film look very good – sincerity and the “chemistry” clearly present in the frame between the performers of the main roles.
Here in “For Once in a Life” there is no “chemistry” between Keira Knightley and Adam Levine. And in “La La Land” there is no “chemistry”, no intelligible plot, no plain music.
And here – you really empathize with Jack and Ellie. Jack is terribly sorry, because he is on the path of complete self-destruction and all this will end very badly. Ellie is really very talented, and here you are already worried that the producers will turn her bright originality into some kind of regular “singing cowards”. And the film clearly shows that Jack sees this, it oppresses him and he tries to explain to Ellie that she should remain herself, and not be led by the producers.
What is good about Bradley Cooper is that, despite his appearance as a noteworthy handsome man, he is not afraid to take on roles where his character looks extremely unpresentable – just remember, for example, the good film “Areas of Darkness”.
Here Jack is brought out quite uncompromisingly. This is not a handsome musician who drinks, but a person who is at a stage where he will obviously not last very long. The film shows how Jack briefly returns to normal after meeting Ellie, but there will be no happy ending: Ellie will go her own way pretty soon, and Jack will not like this road at all.
Bradley Cooper played his character perfectly, and, as it turned out, he also sings very well. By the way, at the request of Lady Gaga, all musical compositions in this picture were recorded only live – this added credibility.
In the scene when, during their first meeting in a bar, Ellie sings a song by Edith Piaf in French, I thought that Cooper would not be slow to demonstrate how decently he speaks French himself – it just somehow suggested itself. (He studied philology, did a six-month probation in France, and, as far as I remember, in some French program, he really made a splash by speaking fluently in French.) But no, he didn’t demonstrate.
Lady Gaga has already appeared in some pictures in episodic roles – for example, in “Machete Kills” and in “Sin City 2”. But here she has a leading role for the first time. In my opinion, she played well, but from an acting point of view, she didn’t impress at all. But she was quite on the spot, and even with her musical numbers, everything is great here, I really liked it.
Bradley Cooper’s character, as far as I remember, is from Alabama, and he speaks with such a drawling southern accent – when I hear him, the actor Sam Elliott immediately comes to mind. So, Sam Elliott also plays here – Jack’s brother Bobby – and he plays perfectly.
Good movie, I liked it. Yes, the plot does not shine with originality, and there are certain rough edges with the production (lack of directorial experience affects), but what matters here is how it is played and how the musical numbers are staged, but it is played very well (primarily by Cooper and Elliott) plus musical numbers (and here, first of all, of course, Lady Gaga shines) – excellent.
In addition, there is a very important moral in the picture. Never, children, do not bend in front of music producers, remain yourself. Well, yes, you may not earn millions and sing in small clubs. Well, that’s good, because with these millions – such a hassle …
A Star Is Born movie meaning
Director: Bradley Cooper Cast: Bradley Cooper, Alec Baldwin, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Elliott, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle, Marlon Williams, Brandi Carlyle
Budget: $36 million, Global gross: $417 million
Musical drama, USA, 2018, 136 min.