Lady Gaga is not the first singer to embark on the transition from music to film (J. Lo, I’m looking at you), and I doubt she will be the last. However, never before have I seen a musician take this leap with such skill, such talent and such raw emotion reminiscent of a seasoned actor.
Ally (Lady Gaga) is an undiscovered singer in her thirties, seemingly resigned to the fact she will never make it as a performer. By chance, seasoned musician Jackson hears her voice and believes she has real talent, giving her opportunities she had only ever dreamed of. At first apprehensive, with years of rejection holding her back, the encouragement and love from Jackson pushes her to realise her full potential and they begin performing together at his concerts before she goes on to become successful in her own right.
Jackson (Bradley Cooper) is plagued by his own demons, tortured by the sins of the father, but in Ally he finds peace. Cooper’s performance is haunting and one of his best to date. The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is electric and entirely believable. As the couple continue on their journey, Ally discovers fame and all the illusions of happiness that come with it, while Jackson’s career begins to wain as he succumbs to alcoholism.
With an ending which will stay with you long after the credits roll, A Star is Born is an exceptional directorial debut from Cooper. Concert shots filmed from on the stage made the audience feel as if they were up there with him, presenting an entirely different perspective not often seen. The film utilised close ups of the actors faces, conveying the significance and depth of emotion within the film. This technique also provided no place for the actors to hide – every frown, tear and smile was heightened – this made it deeply personal.
A Star is Born gave me chills – and not just from Gaga’s unbelievable vocal talents – but from some of the most heartfelt acting I’ve seen in years. Considered separately, both Gaga and Cooper delivered mesmerising performances, but together, it was perfection on the screen.
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
A Star is Born is in cinemas now.