In the fourth remake of the 1937 film, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga brilliantly showcase the emotionally gritty story of love, sacrifice and sorrow.
Jackson Maine, played by Cooper, who also directed and co-wrote the movie, is a successful country singer who is plagued by a haunting childhood, alcohol and drug use. He meets Ally, an aspiring singer struggling in a dea- end job, when he witnesses her performance in a drag bar downtown.
The pair quickly plunge into a deep love affair, where Ally gladly takes on the role of lover, muse and caretaker. As Ally’s career takes off in one direction, Jackson’s is rapidly sinking the other way. He becomes consumed by the demons of his past and jealousy of his now wife’s success without him, and her betrayal of what they first bonded over – singing about things that matter- as her new music label start to manipulate her sound.
Cooper’s performance is that of a grizzled, ageing country singer and he shows great emotional range going from sentimental loving husband to an angry younger brother scarred by his childhood to an unrecognisably disturbed lost man.
In Cooper’s directorial debut, the on-stage scenes place the audience into the emotional states of the characters performance, as the camera weaves between their presence. He successfully replicates the electric nature of live music, during the concert scenes using this technique, making it a piece of cinematic excellence on the big screen.
Lady Gaga’s first starring role is outstanding. Despite her grand persona within the entertainment industry, she manages to portray a genuine character with authentic innocence as Cooper’s character takes her under his wing. As the film progresses, and Jackson becomes more and more reliant on Ally as a result of his emotional pain, Gaga’s performance becomes more complex as her character forms into a woman who accepts and loves her alcoholic husband, without facilitating him, sacrificing her career for him as a consequence.
The film is accompanied by a huge 34-number chronological soundtrack, made up of 19 songs and 15 dialogue tracks. It embraces elements of rock, country and pop, elevating the narrative as it progresses. The use of real-life locations, including Glastonbury and Coachella, and live vocals during filming really aids the picture with the soundtrack being as authentic as possible. Cooper’s vocals were a wonderful surprise, with his voice truly portraying the raw emotions of his character, time and time again.