There’s a reason this is the fourth time A Star Is Born has been made into a major motion picture.
Aside from that perennial fantasy of being whisked away from your ho-hum existence by a megastar, the narrative can be neatly updated into whichever scene the current era most idolises. This time around it’s the tour-heavy modern music jag, with Bradley Cooper as the messed-up and mumbling rock star Jackson Maine and Lady Gaga as spunky aspiring musician Ally, whom the former happens to see performing in a drag bar.
You’d have to be stone not to be moved when Ally first throws caution to the wind and walks on stage after Jackson’s spontaneous invitation – filmed in close-up, mobile shots that move in-step with her, with the heaving festival crowd ready to tsunami the stage. And Cooper and Gaga do have chemistry, which makes the story’s anguished moments genuinely stirring.
The film also presents as a kind of eulogy for the apparently dying art of ‘real musicianship’ in the epoch of stadium pop tours. It’s a little lumbering as an allegory, but don’t think about that angle too hard – this is a hugely entertaining, cannily-shot, and moving update of a timeless story.
Release Date: February 6, 2019
Format: DVD, Blu-ray, 4K
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott