Remake of ‘A Star is Born’ exceeds expectations

October 26, 2018 — by Kaylene Morrison and Emilie Zhou

When we first watched the trailer for “A Star is Born,” we were excited that Lady Gaga was starring in the new film but uncertain about whether the movie would be worth watching. The plot seemed to be full of cliches and we were unsure if Gaga would be able to portray her character convincingly.

But after watching the movie and almost being brought to tears, we were pleasantly surprised at how well executed the film was.

Despite being the fourth remake of the original 1937 “A Star is Born,” the 2018 version exceeded expectations while putting a spin on the familiar storyline. The film earned $95 million within the first 10 days of its release on Oct. 5 and has made approximately $140 million worldwide.

The romantic drama, directed by Bradley Cooper, stars Cooper as Jackson Maine, an alcoholic country rock musician, and Lady Gaga as Ally, a talented but struggling musician. The film follows their tragic love story and highlights some of the challenges and downsides of stardom.

In the film, Jack discovers Ally at a bar and is able to use his connections to help Ally pursue her goals as a singer. However, as her career takes off, the couple starts to encounter problems and Jack’s addiction worsens.

The four variations of the movie all follow the same overall plot, but this remake of “A Star is Born” seems to address many of the problems found in the earlier versions. According to entertainment website Collider, Cooper’s film “learned from the mistakes of its predecessors, [making it the] best realized version of this story.”

For example, Cooper’s and Gaga’s characters demonstrate amazing chemistry, which was lacking in the 1976 film starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.

In addition, the soundtrack has greatly contributed to the success of the film. Even though the films are not officially musicals, the element of music plays an important role that can either add or take away from the overall effect of the movie. The film’s soundtrack includes covers of well known songs as well as original songs sung by the characters.

Unlike the 1976 version, where the music was “awful” and “instantly forgettable,” the music and songs in the 2018 remake followed the lives of the characters, said Matt Goldberg from Collider. Not only were the songs sung by Gaga and Cooper powerful and full of emotion, but they were also incredibly catchy. The songs were well written and we had the tunes stuck in our heads for days afterwards.

According to Vox, “Shallow,” one of the songs written by Ally, is “almost certainly a shoo-in for Best Original Song at the 2019 Oscars.”

Although Gaga is not widely known for her acting, the pop-singer’s performance is impressive and realistic. Throughout the movie, we were constantly surprised at her ability to capture so much emotion.

According to Entertainment Online, Gaga has studied method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in New York city and tried to pursue acting in the past. Although she has acted in other productions, such as “American Horror Story” and “The Sopranos,” she has never had as much success with her roles as she had in “A Star is Born.”

This was Gaga’s first leading role in a big film and the first film production where the persona that she has created over time as a singer — by wearing meat dresses and other unconventional outfits — was completely stripped away. This contributed to the authenticity of her character, who, in the traditional storyline, is portrayed as raw, unfiltered and insecure.

“I want to tell great stories that pull from real places inside of me, from real pain, from real emotion, from my real life,” Gaga said in an interview with “Los Angeles Times.”

Though Cooper is successful in fleshing out the character’s personalities and flaws, he may have delved too far into the backstory of Jack as a director. Instead of focusing on his main asset, Lady Gaga, he decided to focus on the retelling of the overdone story of the drug addict whose addiction drastically impacts his relationships.

Despite this, “A Star is Born” is undoubtedly the most down-to-earth remake of the original 1937 movie; the emotions portrayed by Gaga and Cooper’s characters are complex and genuine and the plot is intricate and well-developed.

“I saw ‘A Star is Born’ back in August at the Venice Film Festival and I still walk around feeling lucky I was in that audience,” Anne Hathaway wrote in an Instagram post. “This film surprised me in the best possible way; it even killed some cynicism that I didn’t know had snuck into my heart.”

 

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