The directorial debut of Bradley Cooper, the award-winning actor and voice of Rocket Raccoon, A Star is Born is an odd film to be sure. It's a reboot, it's a musical (of sorts), and it features Lady Gaga in a leading role. Yet it's serious and gritty and heartfelt and strangely in my wheelhouse despite the musical aspect. Let's break that down. So the reason I say it's a musical of sorts is because it plays less like a musical (using song in place of dialogue to service the plot) and more like a film that just has music in it. But then you remember that this is all original music, written for the purpose of this film, and it's good. It's astoundingly good, actually.
I'm probably doing a disservice to all the talented people involved in this project, with my surprise at how good the music is, but, in my defence, movies about fictional musicians have a history of not being good. One thing I will say, which may come close to being a spoiler, is the weird structuring of the film. Act 1 is over quite quickly, and then Act 2 runs for like an hour and a half before it remembers it has to change into Act 3.
It's odd, as the midpoint (when the main character(s) have a change of fortune) isn't actually in the middle. It seems like the end of Act 1, where our characters are set on a high note, just seems to go on and on, and almost doesn't stop until right at the end, when this film realises it can't just be about that. It can't be all the good times. I feel this made it hard to engage with. I found myself really feeling the length of this long film, even though I was enjoying it all thoroughly. The film also displayed strange behaviour in breezing past events, just showing the highlights, which is typically known as a montage...but then it didn't play any music for said montage. For a film all about music, it was weird that it didn't employ any there. Maybe I'm just failing to understand these aspects about the film, but regardless I really liked it. I thought the performances were raw and emotional, I thought Bradley Cooper adeptly carries off the gruff, drunk musician, and, having never watched American Horror Story, I can say that Lady Gaga really blew me away with her acting capabilities.
Additionally, I thought the music was superb and the two leads really came to life as flawed, complex individuals. All that said, I feel this film almost goes out of its way to defy expectations, and so I defy you, the reader, not to like it and find it charming.
Thanks for reading, be sure to share what you thought of the film in the comments below, or with me @Mooscittles on Twitter.
Written by Kyle J. / Mooscittles