MOVIE REVIEW: ‘A Star Is Born’ is a Love Story Rock Epic

MOVIE REVIEW: 'A Star Is Born' is a Love Story Rock Epic, lady gaga

Soaring into Theatres: October 5, 2018
Running Time: 2 hour and 16 minutes
Rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse
Screenplay by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters
Produced & Directed by Bradley Cooper
Grade: A++

“Hey, I just want to take another look at you”

I experienced A Star is Born in a Dolby Theatre before the October 5 release. It might be categorized as a musical drama category, but it is at its core a love story and a rock epic.

I can’t stop thinking about this film. In his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper delivers a career-best performance as Jackson Maine, a rock superstar with a substance abuse problem.  His portrayal of Jackson is raw and poignant. The film opens with Jackson on stage singing “Black Eyes”.  Maine’s band, Promise of the Real, is led by Lukas Nelson (Willie’s son). I never knew that Bradley Cooper was such a talented guitarist. He easily masters the guitar and vocals with skill. I truly felt like I was on stage experiencing this amazing performance and not watching it in a theatre.

Before Sam Elliott appeared on screen as Jackson’s older brother Bobby, I was thinking how much like him Cooper sounded.  It was like he was channeling that deep and resonant voice.

The next scene shows Jackson with a nearly empty bottle of booze.  He wants more so he directs his driver, Wolfe, to pull over when he spots a bar.  He staggers inside and orders a drink.  He is so far gone that he does not realize or care that it is a drag bar – until he hears Ally.  She is the only woman allowed to sing on the queens’ stage.  Her performance wakes Jackson out of his drunken stupor. He is clearly entranced with her. The next few scenes are sweet and charming as they get to know each other sitting in a parking lot of the Super A Foods.

MOVIE REVIEW: 'A Star Is Born' is a Love Story Rock Epic, lady gaga

“How you say it is the stuff of angels”

As dawn goes down to day, Jackson flies off to the next show, but not before begging Ally to join him.  She refuses, but does not stop thinking about him.  Ally’s dad Lorenzo informs her that Jackson’s driver Wolfe is outside their house, waiting to take her to the concert.  She tells him no and heads to work.  As she walks in with her friend Ramon, her supervisor yells at her for being late.  That was a pivotal moment for Ally. She had enough. She grabbed her bag and Ramon and they jumped in the car and headed to the airport where a private jet was waiting to whisk them off to the show.

MOVIE REVIEW: 'A Star Is Born' is a Love Story Rock Epic, lady gaga

The moment Jackson starts singing Shallows blew me away.  I heard it before when I watched the trailer, but feeling it surround me in the dark was something totally different.  Seeing Cooper and Gaga together on stage as Jackson and Ally was electrifying.  This film is a masterpiece that will transcend the generations.  Cooper and Gaga are brilliant and their sound is amazing. I can’t stop hearing their soulful message of love over and over in my head.

As Jackson grapples with his addiction and tinnitus, Ally is discovered by music producer Rez. As her star continues to rise, his falls, but their love holds them together.

Principal photography began in April 2017 at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California.  Director of photography Matthew Libatique (Black Swan, Venom and Iron Man) also filmed at Glastonbury and Stagecoach.  He did a remarkable job with the cinematography.  He captured the tender moments between the stars and really showcased their talents.

“I will always remember us this way”


This film is so full of heart.  It makes you want to be in love and to be loved like Jackson loves Ally and Ally loves Jackson.

I just can’t say enough about Bradley Cooper’s extraordinary talent, not only as an actor and musician, but as a writer and director.  This film is bound to be a favorite this awards season.  Cooper’s reinvention of A Star Is Born soars and is sure to be triumphant at the box office.  It will appeal to adult audiences of all ages. ~ A.S. MacLeod

Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine
Lady Gaga as Ally
Sam Elliot as Bobby Maine
Dave Chappelle as Noodles
Anthony Ramos as Ramon
Bonnie Somerville as Sally Cummings
Andrew Dice Clay as Lorenzo
Rafi Gavron as Rez
Michael Harney as Wolfe

About Leigh Ann Rassler