“A Star is Born” Review

Nick Woodhouse, Junior Analyst

Performing big at the October box office with a $42.9 million, Bradley Cooper’s directing debut in “Star Is Born” thrived in a usual down month for movies. The movie is a repeat of a similar storyline which is been replicated a couple times before but Cooper’s version puts more a modern spin on the classic. The movie details the lives of two individuals. Ally (Lady Gaga), who was once portrayed by singer Barbra Streisand, is talented singer who is awaiting her opportunity to hit the big. Meanwhile, she works at a restaurant while singer at local events for tune her craft and for an extra buck. The other character, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), who is a famed country-rock singer from Arizona. Stemming from his childhood, Maine has inhabited a major drinking problem which affects him daily. When Maine drunkenly stumbles into a bar following his concert, he discovers Ally elegantly voicing a french opera tune. She captivates her attention. After her performance, Maine greets her backstage and commends her great performance. From there on out, the movie covers the relationship formed between the two talents and Maine’s help in shaping Ally’s career. Sadly, I was not able to catch this movie in October unlike most passionate moviegoers, yet I was happy to recently view the well-acclaimed film.


First, I like the nominations this movie got from the Academy. It was seen as a significant snub to not nominate Bradley Cooper for his directorial role in this movie, but I like the move. Cooper’s acting is far and away better than his directing in this film. Specifically the scene where Maine is going through rehabilitation for the alcohol problem, Cooper is brilliant. He has shown us this decade that he has the range as an actor. This is his second nomination in the Best Actor category–his first being for American Sniper in 2015. Although I think his chances to win are slim due to the tight race this year in Leading Actor, Cooper cements himself as an actor whose Academy Award seems inevitable in the near future. Pop icon Lady Gaga also earned herself an Oscar nomination for her role as Ally. Gaga is simply an incredibly talented individually, and the Academy has shown over the years that they love singers experimenting in the acting field. This is a perfect role for her. One where she can showcase her beautiful vocals and not necessarily have to carry the movie. I think it’s a performance that has the caliber of taking home an Academy Award, but it is going to be tight race with Olivia Colman (The Favourite) and Glenn Close (The Wife). Lastly, Sam Elliott delivers the best performance in this picture. Taking the role as Maine’s brother and tour manager, Elliot steals every scene that he’s thrown in this movie. It was great to see him get an Oscar nomination as well after missing out entirely at the Golden Globes. I like Mahershala Ali’s performance in “Green Book” too much endorse Elliot as a possibility, but I definitely acknowledge his brilliant performance here. As you can see, “A Star is Born” is carried by its marvelous display of acting.


The academy snubbed Bradley Cooper in the directing category and I am a fan of the gutsy call. One of the only weaknesses of this film is the directing and storyline at times. Not only do I think the movie is a little too lengthy than what it has to be, but some scenes seem to serve as too obvious of a filler role. I am not a gigantic musical fan, but I respect the work that goes into them. The song “Shallow” is pretty much a lock for song of the year, yet I thought the other musical pieces were just alright. I don’t know. I think “A Star is Born” doesn’t do everything fantastically, but doesn’t do anything to poorly as well. It’s a pretty solid movie all-around. It could take home a few Oscars, but for me… not Best Picture


Grade: B+