Review: Fans will go Gaga over “A Star is Born”

Review: Fans will go Gaga over “A Star is Born”

Written by Cate Clarke

The recently released fourth version of the film “A Star Is Born” starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga follows a similar plotline to the predecessors, a young artist struggles to make it in the music industry until they develop a relationship with a veteran musician and find success. The story has it all: highs and lows, drama, romance, and raw emotion.

As a Lady Gaga fan myself, I was thrilled that many elements of the film mirrored Gaga’s own personal rise to fame, including some of her struggles and insecurities. The singer-songwriter spoke in length about her musical career with Cooper prior to filming, and he carefully integrated her personality into Gaga’s character, Ally. In the film, Ally is a shy, insecure waitress who occasionally performs in the comfort of her local drag bar. When she first meets Cooper’s character, country-rockstar Jackson Maine, he asks her why she doesn’t sing her own material, and she confides in him about how music industry professionals have rejected her due to her appearance. This has a direct parallel to Gaga’s own career, as she has often faced adversity in the industry based on her looks, and has been advised to invest in plastic surgery to better fit in with other musicians. Ally and Gaga are not one and the same, however. When Jackson meets Ally, she’s given up on ever making it as an artist, she isn’t confident in her appearance, and she pushes away any opportunity outside her comfort zone. Gaga, on the other hand, never gave in to the negative comments and instead pushed the beauty standards of the industry by wearing avante-garde outfits and bold makeup.

As the film progresses, Ally and Jackson fall in love and Jackson’s fame rubs off on Ally as she begins performing at his gigs and traveling with him. Eventually, a manager approaches Ally after one of Jackson’s shows and presents her with the opportunity to produce a record. The transformation Ally makes in the film is heavily influenced by Lady Gaga’s own on-stage persona. Additionally, the songs that Ally begins releasing mimic the style of Gaga’s hits, with similar strong beats to Gaga’s 2009 “Bad Romance” and electronic dance music references like in her 2008 hit “Poker Face.” Even Ally’s backup dancers’ choreography reflects the dancing in Gaga’s iconic music videos from the early 2000’s. It is also important to mention that pop isn’t Ally’s only strong suit, as she rose to fame singing country-rock with Jackson Maine. Her versatility mimics Gaga’s personal singing style. Gaga is famous for her pop hits, but certainly isn’t limited to that. She has a jazz album with Tony Bennett, a country-rock influenced album “Joanne”, and even sang the National Anthem at the 2016 Super Bowl. It’s not hard to fall in love with Ally’s character, as she embodies so many of Gaga’s charming characteristics. Gaga performing as Ally is an amazing and empowering combination, and something that every Gaga fan should see.  

This was certainly one of my favorite films to come out this year, and worth the trip to the theater. The romance between Ally and Jackson appeared very natural and the two had great chemistry on the big screen. I was especially impressed by their musical performances, whether it be at one of Jackson’s gigs or just at home working on new lyrics, as their voices blended beautifully together and the emotional connection left a lasting impression on the audience. The original soundtrack adds an element of personality to the film, as well as a way for fans to find personal connections to the story, which made the narrative even more powerful. The classic tale of an up and coming artist and their introduction into fame has been told before, and will continue to be told, but this rendition will always be unique because of the raw emotion and truly evident talent portrayed by Cooper and Gaga.

“A Star Is Born” premiered in theaters on October 5.

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