REVIEW: A Star Is Born

“Look, talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that’s a whole other bag. And unless you get out and you try to do it, you’ll never know.” –Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine

A Star Is Born doesn’t officially come out until Friday, October 5th but AMC hosted a fan event on October 2nd and one of us caved. The movie stars as Bradley Cooper as established singer-songwriter Jackson Maine and Lady Gaga as new singer-songwriter Ally. It had its world premiere in Venice on August 31, 2018. Here’s what Kathryn thought about it.

Kathryn’s Rating: 9/10

MPAA rating: R

TW (not an inclusive list): alcohol/drug abuse and some domestic violence

Spoilers: I tried to avoid including spoilers as much as I can. Happy reading!

Have you ever been to a concert that left you speechless and you didn’t know how to process anything else until you got back home afterwards? That’s how I felt after watching A Star Is Born. I normally know what to say after a movie I have seen but for the first time in a while, it took me longer than usual to pull this review together. I haven’t been this affected by a musical drama since August Rush in 2007 and Crazy Heart in 2009.

The movie is a man-meets-woman plot at its core, but what it makes all come together is the music and the character development. Similar to the other adaptations, the music is everything. Listen to the lyrics. Carefully. Especially when Jackson and Ally are writing them. Then pay attention to everything else going on around them. Sure, the two main characters fall in love but don’t think for one second that they can’t hold a scene on their own. They fight for each other and defy the odds. For as long as they can. Even as one falls and the other rises.

Despite the fact that this movie is mostly about Ally and Jackson, I have to give a very special shout out to the supporting cast. Each person they interacted with had a purpose in their lives. Even if they did give them a kick in the teeth every now and then. We also can’t forget about Charlie. Charlie is their dog and apparently Bradley cast his own for the movie. Just like the music, pay attention to him also. Particularly in the second act.

Remember that concert we were talking about earlier? The one that left you speechless? There’s a special bond that forms between a performer and fan when a connection is made during a show. That’s what makes those moments when the lights on the phones across the venue come on so goosebump-worthy. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen them live or if you’re a new fan or old. Everybody knows there’s magic at work. There’s a reason why artists do what they do and that’s exactly what this movie shows you.

A Star Is Born is raw and powerful. It doesn’t hesitate to tell the truth. No matter how hurtful it can be. As someone who knows someone with an addiction and has been affected by their actions, it hit home fast and hard. It may have left me shaken but I’m glad I stuck with it. Stay with it. Hold on to something if you have to. That’s how real it got. When you get back home, listen to “Shallow” again with no distractions. That’s the impact it leaves.