My journey in writing about A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, starts from the verses in the song, Shallow, written by Lady Gaga and Cooper and featured in the soundtrack of the film. I looked for a key to read for days to clarify the ideas on the new version of a Hollywood classic, but it was in vain. Then it hits me – what if it is hidden in the music itself? Let’s check it out.
A Star is Born is the reinterpretation of an iconic love story, the third interpretation to be exact. The original director was William A. Wellman in 1937, then George Cukor in 1954 with Judy Garland as the protagonist and lastly, Frank Pierson in 1976 with the incredible Barbra Streisand. It’s no wonder then that movie buffs from all over the world have enjoyed the return to the big screen of this timeless love classic.
At the center of the story are Jack and Ally, two artists who make a couple in life and on stage, fighting for the survival of their relationship and their careers. This is all there is to know – before the vision.
In fact, I would like to focus on another point. Why is this film for a directorial debut so important? This was already a classic three times over with great performances as well as memorable soundtracks. Do you risk repeating a similar venture? Isn’t it a little prudent? It takes a clear and personal, but above all modern vision of a story to reshape a film that is over eighty years old and that is well established in the collective imagination. I assure you that I would have reacted the same way – that is, skeptical or uncertain, if I had read of a hypothetical directorial debut of DiCaprio for the remake of Lolita, for example.
Without losing myself in dialogue, I’ll tell you immediately that Cooper performed extraordinarily in this debut. He took that risk and in doing so has emerged as triumphant. This does not imply that the film is technically compact, necessarily. There are times when the director strays and it’s difficult to understand where he wants to go. It matters little though in my opinion.
A Star is Born is a real and modern film that is full of depth, as you can see in reading my review and surely you will read in others as well. Bradley has moved like this: first, he has revived a story that risked being all glamor, sequins, and excesses of form. He took it as his own though and represented it in its purest essence. A deus ex machina that does not want to impress us, but instead seeks to analyze the universality of those questions that led him to take this risk behind the camera in the first place. It’s beauty therefore is undeniable. The talented Cooper has been very good to date, but what has allowed him to succeed on such an immense level? Let’s repeat her name together: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga.
Despite the risk of overlapping her scripts with real life, without clothes or wigs, Stefani has undressed the masks that has made her the queen of POP for our generation, the worthy heir of Queen Madonna. What remains is a mature woman and artist able to give us an authentic interpretation that touches all the strings of the human soul, reminding us of the actors of our past. Maybe it depends on her Italian origin that she refers to in every interview? Perhaps. The certainty is that for both Cooper and Gaga, their careers will be divided into a ‘before ‘and ‘after’ A Star is Born.