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‘A Star is Born’ is a remake that gets it right

Lady Gaga (Ally)  and Bradley Cooper (Jackson Main) make music and chemistry in A Star is Born.  Image from Warner Bros.
Lady Gaga (Ally) and Bradley Cooper (Jackson Main) make music and chemistry in “A Star is Born.” Image from Warner Bros.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga share electrifying chemistry in this latest retelling of “A Star is Born.” This film marks Cooper’s first time directing and while the man can act, sing and now direct, Cooper still needs to work on what is necessary and what definitely needs to get cut.

The plot centers around Cooper’s character Jackson Maine, who is an alcoholic country music star. Maine’s life is essentially going down the tubes as his declining health and pill-popping will only get him so far. One night after a show, Maine wants to find a bar and drink the night away and soon finds himself in a drag bar. In comes Lady Gaga as Ally, a singer-songwriter and the rising star in all this, belting out a chilling rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La vie en rose” in fluent French. From there the two start a romance that has its mix of ups and downs and ultimately ends with the viewer needing to go to Safeway at 1 a.m. for a box of tissues.

Lady Gaga has made her acting ability known, having been in previous acting projects. While those were good, here she has such a natural presence about her that you forget this is the same person who wore a meat dress that one year at the MTV Video Music Awards. Ally comes off really likable, which is odd as Gaga is playing a character that has traditionally been played as very unlikable.

After Ally meets Jackson Maine, she goes through an arc of performing with Maine then later on having her own career in pop music. Thankfully the transition doesn’t happen until halfway through the movie. The first act is definitely where it’s at as you get to hear Cooper and Gaga sing the anthem of the movie “Shallow.” The movie’s soundtrack is so good that even the songs that are meant to be bad for plot purposes are slightly catchy.

My only two gripes with this movie deal with the movie’s length and unnecessary scenes. As good as this movie is, it definitely didn’t need to be 2 hours and 15 minutes long. There were also some scenes that didn’t help the plot at all or that in the end didn’t really matter.

The story centers a lot around Cooper’s character. While that’s fine, a lot of the movie is pretty much an origin story for Jackson Maine, to the point where they blatantly spoon feed the concept of foreshadowing. I knew how the whole movie was going to end a good 30 minutes before it ended.

Despite a problem with length and unnecessary scenes, “A Star is Born” is still a must-see. This movie is for you, if you like a good tearjerker that will have you feeling all sorts of emotions, and if you like musical soundtracks that make you wish you could belt out a note even half as good as Gaga.

4 out of 5 Stars

Favorite Songs: “La vie en rose,” “Shallow”

Alex Coba can be reached at [email protected] or @ThatOneGuyCoba on Twitter.

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