A STAR IS BORN
Two major revelations: Lady Gaga can act! And Bradley Cooper can sing. This is very much a remake of the Barbara Streisand/Kris Kristofferson version (1976) with ‘country rock’ songs rather than the ‘Some Enchanting Evening’ sound of the 1954 Judy Garland/James Mason version, which I still prefer. Funnily enough, the ending of this new movie does carry a strong echo of the Garland movie and a fainter echo of ‘The Man That Got Away’.
The storyline is familiar all the way back to the 1937 non-musical original. Gaga plays an undiscovered mega-talent (she’s singing in a drag cabaret) whose career gets a boost from a singer (Cooper) who’s passing his peak. Gaga becomes a superstar while Cooper hits the sauce and becomes an embarrassment. But she loves him – more even than she loves her career. Aah.
|The 1954 ballady version. Still my favourite!|
The love story works thanks to onscreen chemistry and quality performances. Gaga actually reminds me of Streisand in Funny Girl: she brings that sense of a raw burgeoning talent. I’m not a fan of her singing: she has a shouty style that reminds me, not pleasantly, of Carly Simon. Bradley Cooper sings as well (and in similar voice) as Kristofferson in the 1976 version. He also directs with considerable flair and has an amazing screen presence. Not sure he’ll get awards for this, but clearly his star, unlike Jackson Maine’s in the movie, is rising.
This is a loud, gutsy movie. I’m an old softie, I wanted more ballads.