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Very Dark “A Star Is Born” is Rated R for a Reason

“A Star Is Born” is the 2018 Oscar Winning film produced and directed by Bradley Cooper and written by Eric Roth, Cooper and Will Fetters.  It marks the third remake of the 1937 film of the same name, after the 1954 and 1976 musicals.  It stars Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Dave Chappelle, Andrew “Dice” Clay, and Sam Elliot.  The film follows the up and down romance of a hard-drinking Country Western singer (Cooper) and his discovered love interest young singer (Gaga).

It is the age-old story.  The grizzled down on his luck veteran is swept off his feet by a young “girl from nowhere.”  They get together and she is sure she could make him change his wild ways for her.  They should live happily ever after like in the fairy tales.  But…..This is no fairy tale.

Jackson “Jack” Maine is a famous country music singer living with a lifetime of bad decisions, and an alcohol and drug addiction.  The only friend he has is his estranged older brother Bobby (Ellliot) that has served as his roadie, manager, and wet nurse for most of his life.  After he plays a gig in California, Jack wanders into a drag bar where he witnesses a performance by young Ally (Gaga).  He is blown away by her talent.  After her show the pair spend the rest of the night discussing the trials and tribulations of their music careers ending with Ally singing Jack a song she has been working on.

Jack invites Ally to his next show where he pleads with Ally to come up on stage and “sing that song I love.”  The two sing the iconic song “Shallow” that won the 2018 Academy Award for best song to thunderous applause.  Jack proceeds to invite Ally to go on tour with him. Ally has become a star right in front of the world and has caught the eye of a record producer named Rez.

After attending a bunch of the duo’s concerts, Rez offers Ally her own record deal.  He pushes Ally away from country music (and Jack) and towards pop music.  Jack begins a downward spiral of drunken nights and embarrassing appearances.  He makes promises to Ally that he will stop drinking and be a better man for her.  He proposes to Ally and they get married that same day.

After another embarrassing appearance at the Grammy’s (where Ally wins Best New Artist), Jack decides he needs to go to rehab.  He reconciles with his brother Bobby and seems to be on his road to recovery.  When Jack returns home, Ally is planning a European tour without him.  Rez confronts Jack and states that Ally is much better off without him, and for Jack to let her be the star she was born to be.  Tragedy strikes when Jack blows off Ally’s concert that night leaving the couple’s relationship changed forever.

“A Star Is Born” is a lovestruck romantic tragedy that serves as a warning to us all.  Fairytales do not exist in the real world.  Relationships take work and effort from both parties.  It is compromise and respect that are the backbone to every solid relationship.  Accepting each other’s faults and celebrating each other’s strengths should be the ultimate goal.

A marriage is not a finished product, but a constant work in progress.  This is something that Jack and Ally needed to understand.  I liked this film as a whole.  I thought that the chemistry between Cooper and Lady Gaga was surprisingly great.  Their performances were Oscar worthy as both were nominated for Best Actor and Actress, respectively.

The story was a little predictable, but I was entertained throughout the entire film.  The song “Shallow” will be forever linked to this film as one of Cinematic Soundtrack greatness.  Cooper and Gaga’s rendition during the Oscars will live forever in Oscar lore.  Just a warning for the young ones that might want to see this film, it is very dark and Rated R for a reason.  Proceed with caution.  I give this film a 3 out of 4 stars.

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