I am not the first to say this, but the 2018 remake of A Star is Born is a pretty good movie.
Country rock star Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) discovers promising singer Ally (Lady Gaga) at a bar she performs at. When Maine helps Ally launch her career into music industry stardom, he sees his own life take a downturn as his drinking problems grow worse.
Bradley Cooper plays his role with a great emotional poignancy, as he makes you love his character and then is so hard to watch as he is increasingly overcome by his alcoholism; you could say he channels Jeff Bridges from Crazy Heart. And with Cooper’s performance combined with Gaga’s equally strong performance, the film is given a great emotional resonance. And then there is Sam Elliot’s performance as Cooper’s older brother, which is the icing on the cake. Elliot plays a watchful guardian to Cooper, putting him into bed after he passes out on the coach or ensuring he wears his ear piece. He’s not afraid to let Cooper hear his thoughts, and in these confrontations with his brother, Elliot blends anger and sadness excellently; the pain with which he lives from familial issues is slowly revealed through Elliot’s superb depiction of a man who has been overshadowed his entire life.
The music of the film is brilliant, from kickass guitar licks to more soaring instrumentals, all with the added bonus of compelling lyrics. From the opening minutes the film rocks out and flaunts its beautiful stage sets.
Despite this not being the first time the story of A Star is Born has been told, this telling is no less powerful than before and may even be the best rendition yet. Not just does A Star is Born 2018 bring a more contemporary lens to the story, but like any good remaster, it adds to the story in ways we haven’t seen before. You know the sad path the story is headed, and sometimes because of that the movie is difficult to watch (Cooper’s performance goes a long way in doing this), but because this film feels as if it is a completely new movie, you are still intrigued in seeing what happens next and how everything will play out this time. Besides a slight fluency issue with jumps in time, A Star is Born is a great movie. While it didn’t quite enthrall me the way La La Land did a couple years ago, this is certainly the best music-based movie I’ve seen since. 9/10