Tony's Take


A Portrait of an Artist Tortured

It has only been 42 years since the story has last struck the big screen, but the fourth time by-far comes with its biggest bang yet!  In “A Star is Born”, an aging star named Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is navigating through fame, rocking-out during his sellout performances while juggling his relationship with booze at the same time.  As we witness Jackson’s struggles (which, at times, seem over-the-top), the viewer finds themselves imagining if their favorite musicians suffer the same.  After a show, Jackson finds himself in-need of a drink and he finds himself at a local drag bar.  Here, he sees a gorgeous young woman, dressed in full Edith Piaf garb, nailing her performance of “La Vie en Rose” right down to the last detail.  Captivated and enthralled, he goes backstage to meet her.  Ally (Lady Gaga) is initially confused, but she obliges Jackson and request for a date as they spend a night out on the town.  Filled with fun and mayhem, the two show an incredible connection they shows they have a bright future.  Their fire is largely-due to the incredible chemistry shared between Cooper and Lady Gaga.  Their respective performances are both outstanding, and lead to a remarkable, genuine relationship and authentic chemistry that is so crucial to the film’s success and credibility.

As their love slowly burns, so does their stardom.  Jackson’s manager and older brother, Bobby (Sam Elliott), hasn’t seen him this happy in years and it’s evident in his new-found behavior and way.  And after a bold decision one night at a show, Jackson invites Ally onto the stage to sing her original song and the result is greater than anything either of them could have ever hoped for.  She joins him on tour as she slowly starts to gain attention and fame.  But as her fame skyrockets to the top, he feels that the hole she originally-filled is slowly-emptying and he begins to turn-back to the problematic elements of days past.  Jackson finds himself back to where he was before Ally came along, and there is so much more at stake than his career this time around.

Aside from the performances of our two leads, “A Star is Born” is carried by stunning supporting ones as well; Sam Elliott is heartbreaking and Dave Chappelle has one of his best roles ever as Jackson’s friend and former musician Noodles.  In addition to the acting, Bradley Cooper also expertly succeeds as this is his directorial debut.  The film also offers a beautiful, melodic soundtrack featuring over 15 original new songs from both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper that will keep you singing long after you leave the theater!  “A Star is Born” is a gorgeous, heartbreaking portrait of the importance and dangers of love, fame, and the pursuit of stardom that will take you through a range emotions during its 135 minute run time.  “A Star is Born” was made for our generation; a poetic warning of how precious life is and how we should take full advantage of it while we have the chance, because we only get one.  The film is a true masterclass in film making; one for the ages.  I firmly believe “A Star is Born” is destined for multiple award nominations later this year (Lady Gaga is by-far the front runner for Best Actress), but I cannot urge you strongly enough: go see “A Star is Born” this weekend!! 


A STAR IS BORN is rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse, in theaters OCTOBER 5TH!

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