Singing and dancing and music, oh my!
I can’t begin to describe to you the reluctance I had in seeing this film. The reluctance due to the fact that I vastly misjudged Lady Gaga. I’ve always loved Bradley Cooper literally since seeing him in Wet Hot American Summer – you see him on film and he just has a certain authenticity about him. Plus, it super helps that he’s a beautiful, beautiful man. I had no reservations about seeing a Bradley Cooper movie.
Don’t get me wrong – I love (and I do mean love) musicals. I wish my voice was spectacular enough to be in one because I would be allll over that shit. And I love musicals that star those that don’t typically cross-over from film to recording studio – a la Johnny Depp (Crybaby), Rosario Dawson (Rent), etc. But for some reason, I didn’t think Lady Gaga could pull it off and I was so, so incredibly incorrect. Lady Gaga brought everything to the table. She was fantastic. Her acting was natural and, I hesitate to say it, but flawless. She was authentic, she was genuine, she filled the role perfectly. I read right after seeing the film that both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s vocals were live and untouched and I believe it. Lady Gaga has a very powerful, distinct voice. It fills a room with any melody – any genre. She is extremely versatile.
Now, combine the two – one of my favourite actors and one of my favourite singers – and imagine… just imagine that they have perfect chemistry together. I am fully jumping on the bandwagon and saying that I for sure think that Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga belong together. Of course, I googled it and Lady Gaga is, in fact, married, and so is Bradley Cooper, but I just have to say… maybe not for long after their significant others see this movie.
This may come as a surprise to you, but I actually had no idea this was a remake, let alone a remake of a remake of a remake of a remake which was a loose remake of a film. That’s right, there is a 2013 Bollywood version which my mom postulates doesn’t count because it didn’t come to the Americas and I tend to agree, the 1976 version with Barbra Streisand, the 1954 version with Judy Garland, and the 1937 version with Janet Gaynor, which was a loose remake of What Price Hollywood? (1932). You bet your ass that I’m about to rent the rest of those A Star is Borns on the Google Play store and go to town (and probably subsequently die from an emotional breakdown because… wow).
For some reason, I wasn’t expecting such a wallop of an ending as I got and I lost it. Like, I’m not talking a few tears escaped the confines of my eyelids, I’m talking full-force, tears rolling down my cheeks and falling into my large, extra buttered popcorn. I was a mess. Over the course of 134 minutes, Bradley Cooper (who also directed this one, did I forget to mention that?) managed to build two incredibly loveable and realistic characters that had me wrapped around their pinky fingers. The character depth was built gradually with little unnecessary exposition – it felt natural and none of it felt like, “oh hey, we’re just saying this stuff for the benefit of the audience who has no clue what our history was”… it felt real. Interactions between Ally and Jackson Maine felt real, interactions between Jackson and Bobby felt raw, interactions between Ally and her father and Jack and Ally’s father – real. I don’t know if that speaks more to excellent writing or excellent casting – I guess a combination of both.
The music was phenomenal – like I said, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s vocals were all live and unedited and it worked so well. Bradley Cooper altered his voice to sound deeper, more weathered, and way more gravelly and that also worked. You can tell a lot of effort and love went into shaping the perfect characters for this film. This may sound biased (because you already know I love B.C.), but I think that Bradley Cooper can do it all – he is a singer, he can act, and he’s got a beautiful (oh so beautiful) face. His voice wasn’t perfect, but it was real and it was open and I feel like I’ve used the word “real” maybe like 6 too many times in this review and I don’t care. I haven’t left the theatre (or my couch depending on whether I feel like putting on real pants that day or not) feeling this way in a long time – the feeling that new life has been breathed into my love for film. Thank you, Bradley Cooper (marry me?)
Starring cast – amazing, perfect, wonderful.
Supporting cast (Sam Elliott, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle) – perfect, couldn’t be any better if they tried.
Music – phenomenal, “Shallow” is the new theme song of my life.
Writing – great.
Story – heart-wrenching.
Bradley Cooper – A+++, shattered my heart into a million little pieces.