The Reel Review
A Star Is Born is the archetypal Hollywood love story – an entertainer in the twilight of his career falls for and helps a struggling singer start hers. In this very modern fourth iteration, Bradley Cooper is Jackson Maine, a booze guzzling, pill popping, tinnitus-suffering singer-songwriter in the midst of a rapid, downward spiral when he discovers the raw talent of Ally (Lady Gaga), a singer-songwriter performing at a drag bar. (Shangela and Willam are simply awesome.) The multi-layered screenplay (co-written by Cooper) pays homage to its predecessors while being original, realistic and current – capturing the pitfalls, insecurities and loneliness of stardom, punctuated by astonishingly raw, intimate performances by both Cooper, in his directorial debut, and Gaga, who dazzles in this role of a lifetime. The supporting cast is also excellent – Sam Elliott as Jackson’s older brother/manager, Dave Chappelle as Jackson’s childhood friend, and Andrew Dice Clay as Ally’s limo driver father. The duo’s songs are heartfelt and haunting, culminating in a heartbreaking lump in your throat finale that is what moviegoing is all about. It is so exceptional you may find yourself watching it more than once.