A Star Is Born ★★★½

Without a doubt this is a film that is carried by the actors. Bradley Cooper gives a fantastic performance as the emotional core of this story. He delivers a really nuanced and heartbreaking portrayal of a man consumed by addiction. Gaga's performance, while not as great as her co-star's, is really good and surprisingly grounded and realistic, which I wasn't expecting from the queen of theatricality herself. However, I think she could've shined a lot more if she was given more material. I keept waiting for a Judy Garland dressing room monologue from her and I never got it, which was a total shame.

Also, I have an issue with consistency here. The first act brilliant and very promising, really focusing on how fame affects people and the way different people deal with it. This was coupled with some inspired choices particularly in the sound design and the camera movement onstage that focused on putting the audience in Jack's shoes.

The rest of the film doesn't follow up on this promise though, focusing on the issues of the characters but not the root of them and the system that enables it (something the 1954 version did so well), which to me is a big missed opportunity. During the second half the film becomes more or less a by the numbers tragic romance with questionable editing and plain direction.

I have my gripes with A Star Is Born but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the hell out this. In the end it's still a pretty powerful and moving story with some incredible musical numbers and performances. And, of course, Lady Gaga is a powerhouse of talent.