Let’s dive into the world of music in cinema this month with two professionals of both worlds, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, with A star is born. SPOILER ALERT LEVEL 5/5.
I do not need to clarify that my review here will only speak of the version of 2018, since Cooper and Gaga were, a priori, not on screen in the previous three versions. Because, as we have heard everywhere, it is the fourth remake of this story, quite simple. Is it worth it? Yes. A million times yes.
The story is simple: a young and talented unknown artist (Ally) encounters, by chance, one of the industry’s major names (Jackson). They fall in love and Jackson decides to help her start her career. Her career takes off, they get married and his addictions worsen. She supports him but during an award ceremony, he humiliates himself, as a result of which he enters into rehab. He barely gets better and ends up committing suicide for reasons that vary depending on the version. She pays homage to him and the film ends.
Ok. Now that the plot is detailed, let’s talk about this version of 2018, directed by Bradley Cooper. If in the other versions we see more of the husband’s jealousy towards his wife, in this version the couple supports themselves in their respective careers, works together and respects the choice of each other. The real problem here is Jackson’s addiction to alcohol and various drugs.
After his rehab, he returns to Ally, for whom her love for Jackson is stronger than her career. She is strong-willed, however, she is ready to sacrifice a lot for the happiness of her couple. Only, an ill-intentioned voice comes to tell Jackson that he is a hindrance to his wife’s happiness and career. Add to this a relapse, that this voice calls inevitable, and it is the end of Jackson that lets himself be overwhelmed by his demons.
Now, about the image, it’s very beautiful: blur, symmetry, colour, depth, close-up and plans answering others, the whole thing is perfectly built. As for music now: it was hard to be more honest. Cooper shows himself to be an excellent singer and guitarist, as we expected, in a rock world that speaks to us a lot and that will probably deserve more attention. Gaga, as for her, shows, again, that she has a voice made of Platinum and that she is a great actress. Her interpretation is touching as much as inspiring and her musical universe is perfectly represented Ally’s, between lyricism and pop.
What deserves a particular note is the representation of diseases, whether with the loss of hearing, addiction in all its forms, depression or suicide. Everything is treated with great tact, intimacy and even modesty. Nothing spectacular here apart from the concerts, superbly enhanced by the light. The songs that were composed for the film then take, thanks to this just staging, some breadth and accompany the characters from one end of the story to the other.
If the synopsis is simple at first, perhaps even a little cliché, this staging, this version gives it a new breath, a modern take that fits in its time and in its two arts that are cinema and music. It’s hard not to appreciate it.