Rated M, 136 Minutes
Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliot, Rebecca Field, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron
It’s not hard to see why everyone is going gaga over this one. Familiarity of story alongside being a fourth official version didn’t diminish the effect this Bradley Cooper directorial debut maintained over me. From the opening guitar strums to passion and pain expanse throughout, it’s an engaging performance by both Cooper and Lady Gaga. And the finale – a soul wrenching finale! Yes, this is a movie you want to see.
So what’s it all about? Jackson Maine (played by Cooper) is one of the most recognisable stars in the world and he’s on the verge of hitting rock bottom. Bottle in hand, he is drowning in a cocktail of pills, loneliness and despair. That is, until out of the shadows he meets a kindred spirit. Ally, (played by Lady Gaga), takes centre stage at a cabaret club with Maine looking on as she spins around audience members whilst singing an incredible version of La Vie En Rose. Connecting instantly, they hang out and with eventual companionship, help each other in life, career and sense of being.
It’s a flawless performance from Gaga. Veteran actor Sam Elliot (who plays the role of Bobby Maine, Jackson’s brother) is always great in my opinion and there’s a particular shared moment in a car with Jackson which is priceless. As for Bradley Cooper? He is outstanding. He is so good, he constantly had me guessing what would happen next.
Tearing me up on a regular basis, I also admired the musical sequences much more than expected. Although the basic song remains the same time-honoured classic, Cooper resuscitates genuine vitality into multiple sinews to custom fit unabashed romantics and cynics alike while unveiling a plethora of incredibly addictive soundtrack tunes. The songs are performed by the cast, mostly written by Lady Gaga and Lukas Nelson (son of Willie) so yes, this is quality stuff.
Oscar-worthy? No doubt about it. Production is terrific. Only some minor issues with editing in times when Andrew Dice Clay (who plays Lorenzo, Ally’s father) was on screen. We needed more of him. And the ending. Oh, what an ending. It’s sure to provoke discussion.
A solid recommendation overall – I wanted at least another hour! This is one of those movies that you will think about for days to come and will ultimately leave you with a smile on your face.
Have you seen it yet? What did you think?