Bradley Cooper’s first outing as a director is an exciting success, but the real star here is Lady Gaga. She lights up the screen with her incredible voice and relatively unknown acting ability, and the on-screen chemistry between her and Cooper makes for one hell of a ride.
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You know Summer has finally arrived in Perth when the clouds clear away, the days become longer, and the outdoor cinema’s start releasing their programs. The Rooftop Movies in Northbridge deliver a fantastic experience, with the beautiful city skyline lighting up the background of the screen, and the cool Northbridge vibes creating the ultimate atmosphere. The food is delicious, the drink choices limitless and the beanbags crazy comfy, making it feel like home away from home. We were lucky enough to catch A Star Is Born on the rooftop.
A Star Is Born is about the trajectory of two musicians’ careers’. Ally (Lady Gaga) is a young singer on the rise to fame and fortune, whereas Jack (Bradley Cooper) is on a downward spiral. The pair fall in love and attempt to navigate their relationship through their individual success and failures, with the latter succumbing more and more to his drug and alcohol abuse.
A Star Is Born is a remarkable feat that marks the fourth remake of this story, with the others opening in 1937, 1954 and 1976 respectively. This latest adaptation is the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper and despite being a remake, the film feels fresh and original. Cooper confidently takes control, capturing what it feels like to be onstage performing to large crowds, as well as his character’s unique view of Ally. He cuts in unusually close, focussing on specific facial features of Ally when they’re having intimate moments, and it really adds to the affectionate nature of the scenes. Audio has also been used in a really interesting way. Whilst music is littered throughout the film, Cooper has reserved the music largely for when the pair are performing, keeping the soundscape very quiet outside of the stage.
Cooper plays the addiction riddled Jack to his usual high standard, easily pulling off the gruff, anger-filled fading musician type. His love for Ally is believable, as is the pain and suffering the pair go through as their careers pull them further and further apart. Cooper is supported by Sam Elliott who plays his much older brother-turned-manager Bobby. Elliott brings a quiet strength to the film, and its Bobby’s constant presence, even when him and Jack are fighting, that brings a comforting calmness to the film.
But ultimately A Star Is Born is the Lady Gaga show. She completely and utterly steals the spotlight with her amazing vocals and emotive ballads. But it’s not just about her voice – she has the acting chops as well. This film proves the girl can act and the chemistry between her and Cooper is unreal. Ally’s growth over the course of the film has you rooting for her the entire way. She’s an admirable character who sacrifices much to love and protect Jack.
Cooper has made a valiant attempt to tell both sides of the story for this couple, and for the most part it works. The film overall is a little bit too long and there are moments in the middle that could have been cut, but in terms of expressing the addiction and craziness of fame, the film hits all the right notes. This wasn’t an easy task for Cooper to undertake, especially on his first outing as a director, but he has managed to modernise a timeless film with enough soulful tracks to keep the buzz around this film going, at least until Oscar season.
Program 1 of Rooftop Movies runs until December 9th, with another three programs to follow. You can see the full program at: https://www.rooftopmovies.com.au/program
A Star Is Born is available in Australian cinemas from October 18.
Image courtesy of Roadshow Films.