Hollywood loves both stories about fame and remakes, so it was probably inevitable that they would revisit A Star Is Born, which starred Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand in previous incarnations. Here, pop superstar Lady Gaga does a respectable job in the lead role, even if the film doesn’t completely soar.
Directed and co-written by Bradley Cooper, the film tells the story of Ally (Gaga), a waitress who sings at drag clubs but has never caught her big break, because of both her own stage fright and the fact that record producers don’t like her looks. An alcoholic country-rock star with hearing loss (Cooper) comes into the bar one night and watches her sing. They hit it off. He convinces her to overcome her fears of performing, and she eventually becomes a star. But Gaga’s rise coincides with Cooper’s fall.
The opening act is fun, as the two stars have good chemistry and their first musical number together is rousing. There are also some moving scenes in the final act (aided by Sam Elliott in a solid turn as Cooper’s older half-brother). However, the middle part of the movie lags. Even only two days after seeing it, the scenes that linger in my mind are from the film’s first 30 minutes and final 30 minutes. The second act is largely forgettable.
Still, fans of tearjerkers and fans of Lady Gaga’s music will likely enjoy this (many in the audience applauded at the end of the matinee I attended). Cooper also shows enough visual skill to indicate that his career as a director might be worth following as well.