To summarize it, A Star is Born is an emotionally rich and musically scintillating journey of two individuals in search of completeness – made up of various elements of dreams, talent, fame, love, companionship, trust and loss.
A story told many times over finds a fresh, contemporary and a very personal interpretation through the vision of filmmaker Bradley Cooper. He is in complete command of his craft here both behind and in front of the camera, and is able to etch long lasting impressions of unconditional love, and accompanying pain deep into our hearts. This easily has to be his most moving and involved performance to date – his Jackson Maine is wonderful and is going to remain warm in many hearts for long. And he is tremendous in his vocals too, matching beat to beat with Lady Gaga in all the songs. The music that they create together sounds perfect and completely in sync, never giving an impression that he is singing with a musical superstar.
And Gaga on the other hand is so much more than a singer in the film. She gives an honest heart warming performance sans all the glitz and vanity, and strikes some perfect chords of emotions. Together the leads share some of the best chemistry seen on screen in a long time, and them falling in love on screen make up some of the most powerful moments of the film.
The film also keeps itself very contemporary by underplaying the jealousy part, and focusing on the conflict of how talent often has to give in to commercial productization robbing souls out of what art should really stand for. The contrasts of Cooper being able to hold ground on the basis of art in spite of his alcoholism and addiction problems, while Gaga having to give in to the showbiz play out well, and both Gaga and especially Cooper add in a lot of depth on their part to add a lot of conviction to this journey. Sam Elliott deserves to be called out for a very effective supporting performance in a relatively limited role too.
What does not work very well though is the overall editing and pacing of the film. Some very important parts feel rushed, while there are parts that slow down more than needed. The transitions between scenes also feel jarring at many places and at times disrupts the natural flow of the story.
Thankfully they do not impact the sequences and visuals of the concerts filmed. They are very ambitiously choreographed and conceptualized and the execution remains perfect. That does add all the more strength and beauty to the absolutely sensational soundtrack of the film. The songs especially are beautifully written, and find their perfect form through the soulful rendition by both Cooper and Gaga.
If not for anything else, this version of A Star is Born deserves to be watched for that sensational music and the emotionally powerful acts of both the stars, especially the man practically owning the film in all ways. Cheers Bradley Cooper!