REVIEW: Lady Gaga shines and the direction is faultless as Bradley Cooper updates a Star is Born

A Star is Born

A Star is Born - Credit: Archant

Bradley Cooper makes his directorial debut and stars with Lady Ga Ga in this remake of A Star is Born. A story last brought to the screen in 1976 by Barbara Streisand.

Cooper stars as Jackson Maine, a once revered but fading country rock star, who discovers and falls in love with struggling cabaret singer Ally (Gaga)

Once Ally is coaxed into the spotlight, her career takes off, but at the same time, Maine’s battle with his personal demons begins to take a heavy toll and threatens to scupper both their careers.

Cooper is outstanding both behind and in front of the camera.

He has always been a competent actor, but his direction of the film is faultless and he is also surprisingly at home on stage, during the music scenes.

His deep whiskey soaked voice is the embodiment of a grizzled chain smoking rock star. A feature Cooper went to great lengths to achieve, actually taking throat exercises in order to speak with a lower pitch.

As a successful musician Gaga is much more of a seasoned pro when it comes to inhabiting the stage, however she also shines in what is her first lead acting role, proving she has much more to her repertoire than casual fans might think.

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Sam Elliott lends support as Jackson’s manager and brother Bobby, and the pair share some of the films most emotionally charged scenes.

Importantly for a film about musicians, the songs are also great. Co-written by Cooper and Gaga, with help from a variety of artists, including Mark Ronson and Lukas Nelson, son of country legend Willie.

The film’s soundtrack may well go on to be just as big a hit as the film itself.

Some viewers may find the character development a little rushed and it is true the film offers little in terms of a new spin on this well told story, however these are small gripes and most will be too swept up in events to care.