By Tracy Wang
One of the most anticipated films of this fall, ‘A Star Is Born’ can be said to be a success of a remake of the original 1937 film, and even more of a success with its deeply moving music and the two lead actors who breathe life into its gorgeous soundtrack and characters. For fans of music and just a good love story, they will not be disappointed.
Ally (Lady Gaga), a struggling singer-songwriter, lives under the shadow of her father who is stuck in his dream of becoming someone famous, and sings occasionally at a drag club. One night, she meets the famous singer Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) during a performance. Transfixed by her performance, they strike up an instant relationship that ends up with Ally hitting some random fan in a club.
Outside a supermarket, Jackson opens up about his tragic past, and Ally again shows him what an awesome singer-songwriter she is. Soon, she is on the stage with Jackson, and their duet charms everyone present and online. Both as a mentor and a love interest, Jackson officially enters Ally’s life and their chemistry ignites the stage every single time. However, just when Ally’s singing career is taking off, Jackson is more than ever in the grasp of his demons, his addiction to drug and alcohol and his depression, and one fateful conversation is set to change their lives.
Directed and co-written by Cooper, ‘A Star Is Born’ has the production of a blockbuster, but it has the taste and feel of a complex love story that is going to reach deep into its audiences’ hearts and souls. A first-time director, Cooper has used his camera lens cleverly to portray its characters in a multitude of emotions and states. From the fracturing of images on stage to the blurry but alarming pace to reveal the final tragedy, he takes us onto a journey that is not only pleasing aesthetically but moving emotionally.
Acting as Cooper’s counterpart, Lady Gaga is one star of the show. Her performance of a struggling but talented artist transfixes not only Jackson but everyone who sits among the audiences. With her vocal and music, she has the power to invite us all to step deep into her soul, and with much training, Cooper’s performance can only be described as stunning and believable.
But other than these two actors who shine through the whole film, the topics addressed also raise some much-needed awareness to depression, to how much grief can break or lift a person, and to how addiction is not a matter of right or wrong but a matter of complexity. From the beginning of the film, we already get a sense of what a broken man Jackson is, and we know Ally and Jackson are meant to lift each other up, but we do not know the difficulty and complexity of getting a person out of depression and out of drug addiction.
In life, when we hear of someone with drug addiction or depression, we try our best to help, but in the end of the day, we are at a loss of what to do and how to help. ‘A Star Is Born’ is not afraid to show the most difficult and struggling side of a person with depression and drug addiction, and by doing this, it asks us to openly talk about these topics that are so often left un-discussed and un-addressed.
‘A Star Is Born’ has both its lead actors shining in the most joyous and heartbreaking situations, but the whole film is a star of its own. Witty, touching and a tearjerker of the best sense, ‘A Star Is Born’ will leave you thinking and talking about some of the most difficult topics, as well as having some of the best vocals added to our playlists.