A Star is Born has experienced its third reincarnation since it was first told in 1937 by Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. Since then, around every two decades, it has reappeared in cinemas charting society’s response to fame through its very heart; the stage. Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is a startling reflection of Hollywood’s current conflict -irresponsible male falling apart as the female lead rises from the ashes. The story is tried and tested. But this attempt is anything but stale.
Lady Gaga is so imperfectly exquisite in this story she makes you wonder why more films don’t ‘make-under’ such colossal stars. The contrast between her larger-than-life costumes used in the promotion of the film, stand in stark contrast to the tatty jeans and plain tshirts that we first meet Ally in. Those looking for glitz and glamour won’t be disappointed though. This is a contemporary tale of relative rags to riches and as Ally begins her ascent into mouth-watering Givenchy gowns, Bradley Cooper’s Jack soon starts his sorrowful demise.
“They are real life dressed up in the most glittering circumstances.”
The story is predictable, but that is beside the point. This is a film to be luxuriated in, for each scene is masterfully put together to draw you in and then drop you in the final moments. As Cooper shows the fallible Jack and ambitious Ally fall in love on stage, so too does the audience. They fight. They are jealous and playful and petty. They are real life dressed up in the most glittering circumstances.
This fantasy of a film relies on our obsession with stars and our belief that they are beyond our own human experience. That is where it’s magic lies and we are rightly transfixed. Despite its octogenarian status, A Star is Born has come alive once again and reminds us to reflect on the concept of fame today, when famous lives are so readily accessible. This is a grand dame of a film. I won’t be surprised to see her grace our screens again in 20 years time.