Hits the right note

Chinchilla News - - LIFE -

IS THERE a movie that is more hyped up this year than A Star Is Born?

The third re­make of a clas­sic Hol­ly­wood flick, the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga film is an im­pres­sive spec­ta­cle that hits most of the emo­tional highs and lows au­di­ences want from a movie that prom­ises to take you on a melo­dra­matic jour­ney.

Not melo­dra­matic in a bad way, melo­dra­matic in that every­thing is height­ened – the tri­umphs are soar­ing, the tragedies are crush­ing.

Mu­si­cals are not sub­tle beasts.

Is it per­fect, the most amaz­ing movie you’ll see this year?

No, but it is pretty great. Bradley Cooper plays Jack­son Maine, a coun­try­rock star who still com­mands adu­la­tion but whose star is on the wane af­ter years of bat­tling drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion, as well as the hear­ing con­di­tion tin­ni­tus.

Com­ing off a roar­ing gig, he goes to a bar where he sees Ally (Lady Gaga) per­form­ing a soul­ful ren­di­tion of Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose.

Ally is an as­pir­ing singer who, de­spite her ob­vi­ous tal­ent, has been re­jected by count­less la­bels be­cause she doesn’t have the right “look”.

Jack is im­me­di­ately en­chanted and while she’s ini­tially hes­i­tant, they bond over an evening – she singing her songs for him in a su­per­mar­ket carpark, him mag­ne­tised by her pres­ence.

By the next night, she’s on stage at his next con­cert, belt­ing out the song she sang for him in the carpark, now fully ar­ranged.

Their chem­istry is pal­pa­ble: Cooper and Gaga are clearly on the same wave­length and they’re able to have you in­vest in Ally and Jack’s re­la­tion­ship im­me­di­ately.

Any­one who has seen any of the three pre­vi­ous ver­sions star­ring Janet Gaynor (1937), Judy Gar­land (1954) and Bar­bra Streisand (1976) will no doubt re­mem­ber how it ends.

But even for those who haven’t, it’s a fa­mil­iar tra­jec­tory.

The idea is that there are only so many stars – one must move aside for an­other.

So the story isn’t just about Ally’s jour­ney to the top of the charts and ac­claim, it’s also about Jack’s de­scent and in­creas­ing ir­rel­e­vance.

Telling the down­fall story re­quires more fi­nesse than A Star Is Born is able to man­age – the Gar­land ver­sion does this very well and it’s in­evitable that this ver­sion will al­ways be com­pared to the ones be­fore it.

Cooper’s per­for­mance as the sad and strug­gling Jack is bril­liantly cal­i­brated, and con­sis­tent through­out.

This movie seems more in­ter­ested in his story, the one of the fad­ing star, than it is in hers: a re­ver­sal of the Streisand and Gar­land ver­sions.

His plunge, the al­co­holism, is more con­vinc­ing and nu­anced than her me­te­oric rise.

While im­per­fect, A Star Is Born is a sat­is­fy­ing and emo­tion­ally evoca­tive epic.

If only it had man­aged to main­tain the in­tox­i­cat­ing al­lure of its first hour.

PHOTO: WARNER BROS.

EMO­TIONAL FILM: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in the third re­make of Hol­ly­wood clas­sic, A Star is Born.

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