Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is undoubtedly one of 2018’s best films, earning 7 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
This beautifully captivating, yet devastatingly real and tragically authentic story follows the world-famous musician Jackson Maine (Cooper) and his relationship with Ally (Lady Gaga), a restaurant employee/nightclub performer who finally realizes her true dream of becoming a musician herself. Maine is deeply-troubled with battles against alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression, finding balance in the love of the patient, compassionate, and genuine Ally. The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is absolutely enchanting, with each portraying their respective roles in the most convincing and charismatic fashion possible. Additionally, Cooper and Gaga both legitimately performed their own music numbers, only furthering the enthralling nature of their depictions.
Speaking of the music, the original soundtrack is dazzling, thanks to the musical minds of Cooper, Gaga, and Lukas Nelson, son of country music legend Willie Nelson. The concert sequences in which these songs were performed were enchanting snapshots of cinematic grandeur. Everything from the remarkably crafted production design of Karen Murphy, to the alluringly vivid and colorful art direction from Matthew Horan and Bradley Rubin, to the spectacular cinematography thanks to Matthew Libatique, are all on full display during these scenes. Even in instances of lesser extravagance throughout the film, each of these elements flows splendidly, with stellar editing from Jay Cassidy to provide deeper support to this cinematic project as a whole.
While Cooper’s chops as an actor were never in question, any skepticism regarding his ability as a writer and director were quickly laid to rest as well following the marvel that is “A Star is Born.” Backed up by a strong supporting cast including Sam Elliott, Anthony Ramos, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, and Dave Chappelle, I guess one could say Cooper “got by with a little help from his friends.”