What is your voice? What is it you need to say to the world? For one young singer, a chance encounter with an aging superstar may be just what she needs to find her voice while helping him survive in a world of excess in the film A Star Is Born.
This version, the fourth iteration of the story probably best known from the 1976 film starring Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand, tells the story of aging rocker Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a man who seems to be just holding on. He’s living his life behind the blurry mask of an alcohol-induced stupor. He’s learned to cope with everything that comes his way with a bottle in his hands. When Jackson ends up at a bar, he goes inside searching for his next drink and having no idea what is about to happen.
On the stage at the small bar, Ally (Lady Gaga) delivers a performance that showcases her intoxicating voice and magnetic stage persona. In an instant, Jackson finds himself inspired, and he is easily talked into meeting the voice behind the performer.
When he meets Ally, Jackson realizes there is more to her than a voice. Although Ally has always been told her voice is spot-on, people repeatedly expressed that her look just didn’t cut it. That is not what Jackson sees, and when he asks to look at her just one more time before he leaves, the connection is solidified.
Together, the two help each other to become the best individuals they can be, but can it last in the fast-paced world they inhabit? Or will the relationship that started in a beautiful place devolve into something that doesn’t help either realize their true potential?
Amazing performances from Cooper and Gaga go a long way to making this film a chart-topper. It’s not just the amazing music, which is prevalent at every turn; it’s about the embodiment of their characters. Cooper and Gaga become Jackson and Ally, and we believe every aspect of their lives, crying when tears need to be shed, laughing when the spirit moves and feeling every emotion that fills the pair.
Supporting roles for Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle and Andrew Dice Clay give us the character depth that drives the story. And each of the three actors finds a way to our hearts with their roles. Brother, friend and dad bring to life the concerns of those surrounding an alcoholic and those who love them.
I feel the emotion, I relish the music, I love Cooper and I adore Gaga. (Full disclosure — never was a fan, but I am now.) The only thing holding A Star Is Born back for me was the feeling I got at multiple moments in the film that things were unevenly mashed together. Starts and stops and scenes that went on either too long or not long enough are a regular occurrence here, but it is a rather nitpicky thing on my end.
The emotion A Star Is Born evokes is worth every penny. The music featured in the film makes the soundtrack worth every last cent you spend on it. There are millions of stars in the sky, and millions of stars in the world — become one of them, let your voice be heard and always be you.
A Star is Born is available On Demand and on DVD beginning Feb. 19. Check your cable system for availability.