Director: Bradley Cooper
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga), Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Anthony Ramos, Bonnie Somerville
Runtime: 2 hrs 16 mins
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene & Nudity)
Released By: Warner Bros
Opening Day: 4 October 2018
Synopsis: In this new take on the tragic love story, he plays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers—and falls in love with—struggling artist Ally (Gaga). She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer… until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.
It is convenient to dismiss this remake of the 1937 film of the same name as a chick flick.
From the trailers and clips we’ve seen before the movie’s theatrical release, this seems like the perfect show for you to weep your hearts out. Audiences who have seen the original film starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, the 1954 musical featuring Judy Garland and James Mason, or the 1976 rock musical with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson will know how this tragic love story ends.
A hard drinking but charming musician whose health is deteriorating by the day? Check. An amateur singer who belts out tunes at a bar before getting talent spotted? Check. Two people falling in love before being torn apart by fame, jealousy, drugs and alcohol? Check.
Bradley Cooper (in a very impressive directorial debut) and Lady Gaga (sans her signature outrageous outfits) play the protagonists of the film. The co stars have been in the limelight since the film’s premiere at the 75th Venice International Film Festival, with critics singing the duo’s praises.
Believe us – the hype is real.
We have seen how musical films have been remade to less than illustrious results (2004’s The Phantom of the Opera, 2009’s Nine and 2014’s Annie come to mind), but this production is perfect. While this is the fourth rendition of the story, it feels timely and poignant. The screenplay co written by Cooper, Eric Roth and Will Fetters tackles the ever relevant themes of human emotions and on a more important note, mental conditions. At one point, you feel that this is Gaga’s story about her rise to fame. When you see how Cooper’s character struggles with fading fame, your heart goes out to the countless celebrities out there are experiencing what feels like a slow but painful death.
It helps that the film is filled with songs that tell aptly tell the story. From Gaga’s stirring rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en rose” to her show stopping duet with Cooper (the original composition “Shallow” is bound to take home a few prizes during the awards season), there is never a dull moment. Even Cooper, who trained physically and musically for six months to play a musician, is a wonder to watch. Yup, you will be hearing Rocket Raccoon sing.
This film couldn’t have been this great without the heartfelt performances by Cooper and Gaga.
Having to also take on the director role behind the camera, the 43 year old actor is perfect in portraying a man who is going through a downward spiral in life. Already winning acclaim for his performances in American Hustle (2013) and American Sniper (2014), this may be his best work yet. Watch out for a scene where Cooper sits shirtless in front of pills and alcohol – the hopelessness will break your heart.
Meanwhile, Gaga’s restrained and grounded performance makes you feel like she is like any other girl you know who is vulnerable to feelings and real fears. The story sees her character evolving into a pop star, complete with fancier clothes and hairdos. We can see why the 32 year old singer songwriter is going to get more attention with countless acting nominations.
Supporting characters played by Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle and Sam Elliotround up the perfect casting. Coupled with gorgeous cinematography by Matthew Libatique (Mother!) and exemplary post production (kudos to the sound editors who worked on the music sequences), expect this highly recommended film to shine like a star during the awards season.
(You will be deeply moved by the affecting love story, thanks to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga who have put their heart and soul into this bittersweet and relevant film)
Review by John Li