“I think you might be a songwriter. And don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody. But I’m not very good at keeping secrets.”
Funny, sweet, heartbreaking and tragic, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut runs the emotional gamut. The incredibly talented pair of Cooper (Jack) and Lady Gaga (Ally) belt their way through the film’s soaring soundtrack as their character’s musical careers spiral to new highs and lows. And while Gaga’s beautiful vocals are no surprise, her impressive dramatic range certainly is. She’s come a long way since her scenery chewing breakout role in American Horror Story (and Cooper is equally strong).
There are frustrations. Large portions of Ally’s rise through the music industry ranks are relegated to a sprawling montage. And the message the film sends – sell out your true self and you can win a Grammy – rankles. Still, the core narrative remains powerful to the bitter end. The audience I had the misfortune of watching A Star Is Born with were one of the worst I can remember; munching, chatting, vaping (!). But even they were silenced by the moving final act. You’d be hard pressed not to be.
Rating (out of 5):