Bradley Cooper goes Gaga in his directorial debut

Madeline Gray

“A Star is Born,” debuted nationwide on the fifth of October.

After playing to a packed arena, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) stumbles upon a drag bar looking for his favorite companion, alcohol. There he crosses paths with Ally, the only female performer allowed to grace the drag bar’s stage. As she builds to her big finish singing “La Vie en Rose,” she steps up onto the bar where he’s sitting. She lies down to belt out her final notes and her eyes meet with Maine’s in a moment of serendipity.

This is the jumping off point for their love story.

A Star is Born
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in “A Star is Born” Photo credit: WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC

In “A Star is Born,” Bradley Cooper plays Jackson Maine, a country star with a drug and alcohol problem who meets Ally, a struggling singer-songwriter, played by Lady Gaga. This story follows the romance between these two musicians, one hoping for her star to rise and the other bracing for his fall. Jackson wants to help Ally find her voice and become a true artist. As Ally is reaching for stardom, she juggles her newfound fame while dealing with loving a longtime addict.

This is the fourth version of “A Star is Born” that’s been made. A couple of the duos that came before were Judy Garland with James Mason and Barbra Streisand with Kris Kristofferson. These were all good pairings, but none showed the same level of raw emotion and chemistry that Cooper and Gaga did. Both actors shared a vulnerable connection that’s hard to match.

This connection was captured brilliantly in the film’s story line. It encapsulates a wide range of emotions from the absolute joy of newfound love to the outbursts of anger and despair in tough times.

The music in the film was nothing short of stellar. Gaga’s distinctive pitch and Cooper’s low, gritty tone complemented each other.

The film featured 19 songs each helping to progress the story line with standouts like “Shallow” and “Always Remember Us This Way.” According to Billboard, Cooper and Gaga were given numerous songwriting credits on the soundtrack along with writers and producers Mark Ronson and Lukas Nelson, Willie Nelson’s son.

As a viewer, it was a little challenging to reconcile 74-year-old Sam Elliott as 43-year-old Bradley Cooper’s brother rather than his father.

Despite the apparent age gap, the two actors shared a bond onscreen that contributed to the overall performance.

Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott
Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott in “A Star is Born” Photo credit: WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC

Mixed in with the dialogue was the sound of the audience sniffling and reaching for tissues throughout the film’s emotional moments. You could have heard a pin drop in the theater if it wasn’t for Gaga’s enormous voice. In the scene where she sings “Shallow” with Cooper, the audience was held captive by the singer’s powerful high notes and strong stage presence.

Gaga may have left her famous persona behind when diving into the deep end with her movie debut, but she kept her incredible artistry. Cooper is the solid, seasoned lead with steady vocals that took the film to new heights.

Bradley cooper and Lady Gaga
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga performing in “A Star is Born” Photo credit: WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC

While some scenes have carried on from previous remakes like the bathtub scene from the 1976 version and Cooper’s famous line “I just wanted to take another look at you,” this version of “A Star is Born” carries its weight and tells a story that’s all its own.