A Star Is Born: A Heartbreaking Must-See

Warning: This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Photo provided by IMDb

Photo provided by IMDb

Sophia Longo, Staff Writer

“A Star Is Born” was released on October 5, 2018. Soon after the film’s release, it became one of the most talked about movies of the year, though the conclusion left half of the audience angry, and the other half in mourning. No matter the side audience members fell on, the film was, undeniably, very well done, leaving practically ALL audience members both stunned and heartbroken.

The story follows the main character, Ally, on her rise to fame after connecting with music legend Jackson Maine. After watching Ally perform in a drag bar one night, Jackson invites Ally to his concert the following day. The two perform the now beloved song “Shallow,” sending off Ally’s rise to fame and the beginnings of her and Jackson’s romance. After a whirlwind tour, Ally’s career takes off, with her first album debut helping her rise to fame, as well as her swift engagement and marriage to Jackson. The two spend a few blissful months together, reveling in their coupled success and happy marriage.

Soon enough, however, Ally’s obligations in her rapidly growing fame and Jackson’s struggles with alcoholism lead to some tension within their marriage and respective careers. Things take a turn when a drunken Jackson makes a massively embarrassing display at a televised award show as Ally is accepting an award for Best New Artist. After spending 3 months at a rehabilitation center, Jackson returns home to a doting Ally. Their joyous reunion is short-lived, though, as Jackson’s insecurities about hurting Ally and her career with his alcoholism are amplified after he’s confronted by Ally’s manager. Jackson’s demons overcome him, and he commits suicide at his and Ally’s home as Ally is away performing. His passing leaves behind masses of mourning fans, as well as a heartbroken Ally.

Of course the ending was very upsetting, especially as the movie being a tragedy was never hinted at in any of the trailers, but those who attribute the ending to making an overall bad movie are not being fair. It is undeniable that the movie was very well done on all scores.

Firstly, the music was nothing short of spectacular. Immediately after the film’s release, the soundtrack became a hit. Each song tells some part of the story, relating to some part of Ally’s development as an artist and her relationship with Jackson. The songs are impossible to not enjoy, and each did a great job setting the tone for the story, whether sorrowful, joyful, or indifferent.

Secondly, the cinematography was great. The story is told through the eyes of Ally, in all of her happiness and hardships. It begins with her modest life as a caterer, then through her rise to fame, and finally from her vantage point on stage while performing “I’ll Never Love Again” at Jackson’s memorial service. Throughout the film, Ally purposefully never makes eye contact with the camera until she finishes performing “I’ll Never Love Again” at Jackson’s memorial, when she looks directly into the camera right before the end credits begin to roll. This small, seemingly insignificant detail is really powerful in conveying Ally’s thoughts and growth from the beginning to the end of the film, something the cinematography as a whole was able to capture very nicely.

Finally, the acting really surprised me (in a good way). Going into the film, I was a little skeptical, given I, like many people, had never seen Lady Gaga act in anything. A few minutes into the film, however, it completely slipped my mind that Lady Gaga, the famously stylish and eccentric pop artist, was the person I was witnessing on screen. She completely succeeded in becoming the character Ally, in a way that seemed perfectly natural and effortless, and made the audience root for her in her growing career  and sympathize with her in her heartbreak. And, her chemistry with Jackson, played by Bradley Cooper, was exceptional, making their romance and arguments and heartbreak seem so real.

Despite all of these good things, the film itself received some backlash for its abrupt, tragic ending. While Jackson’s suicide was upsetting, to say the least, the tragedy at the end cannot overshadow the movie as a whole, which exceeded my expectations in every respect.