Since its release, musical-drama A Star is Born (Cert 15A, 136 mins) has been considered by many as an Oscar frontrunner.
It’s a bold thing to call a movie this early on in the game, given the distance to awards season, and particularly as it’s a remake.
However, if the film doesn’t at least receive one nomination, in any category, it will be an injustice.
It would be an even greater injustice if Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Germanotta) was not taken as a serious actress following her authentic performance as Ally, the rising star.
Revolving around legendary country-cum-rock star Jackson Maine and his discovery of Ally, a part-time waitress singing in a drag club, A Star Is Born should be packed to the brim with cliche, but it’s not.
The movie is a slight whirlwind, casting through an undetermined amount of time from Ally’s ‘discovery’ right up to her winning her first major award, right up to a life-changing incident for both Ally and Jackson.
Despite getting a full synopsis of Ally’s fledgling career, at times parts can feel like they’ve been drawn out for effect when not entirely necessary, whilst other aspects don’t have enough detail.
It’s all told primarily though Jackson Maine’s perspective – which isn’t a massive fault, as it offers valid criticisms of some of Ally’s decisions – but given the talent showcased by Gaga in the move, it would have been ideal to see more of her perspective, given how wildly things change for Ally.
It’s a heartwrenching tale at the best of times, as the budding couple struggle to cope with the pressures of their fast-paced careers and the toll it takes on family, friends and their relationship.
With the soundtrack topping charts around the world, and lead track ‘Shallow’ making its way to number-one in many countries, the song is the perfect summation of all that the movie is and stands for, the soundtrack being the perfect descriptor to each element of the film.
It’s rare that a soundtrack so perfectly complements the storyline of a movie, with each track revealing a main plot point.
From Ally getting her bearings as a soft-Folk singer songwriter under Jackson’s guidance to her development into a more ‘corporate’ pop star, to opening track of the movie, Black Eyes, setting the tone for Jackson’s rebellious streak that runs through the whole two and a half hours.
It’s a movie that’s rooted in melody throughout, with the performances from both Cooper and Gaga delivered almost like that of a beautiful opera.
Whilst some may have been skeptical of Gaga’s dancing skills, she manages to channel previously-discussed insecurities and her own experiences as a musician into an authentic performance that keeps audiences captivated.
Cooper can fall flat in some aspects, but perhaps that’s the point.
His character is one that I indeed felt sorry for at points throughout the movie, though I also found myself growing increasingly frustrated with the portrayal of an alcoholic rockstar’s sense of entitled masculinity.
Maybe this was the point, given the major turn in Jackson’s plot, but it dimmed his shine next to Gaga’s portrayal.
The supporting cast in the film were also spectacular, under Cooper’s direction.
Given that this was his directorial debut, he carried it off with an edge that many established directors struggle to grasp.
Ultimately, it is a must-see film, even if musicals or romantic dramas aren’t your usual thing. It tugs on the heartstrings in a way that truly renders it a modern classic.