‘A Star Is Born’ entrances audiences

This story contains potential spoilers about the movie.


Graphic by Lucy Smithwick

Story by Lucy Smithwick, Online Managing Editor

After hearing a rising broadway star singing the hit song from the movie A Star Is Born on Instagram, I knew I had to see the song’s source. The movie came out Oct. 5, 2018. However, when it comes to seeing new movies in theaters, I’m usually very late. But then I saw it.

Heading into the movie theatre, I didn’t have many opinions on what I was about to see, but I was ready to see a movie musical. The movie began and I was immediately entranced. Opening upon the scene of a concert from the view of the stage, it was a different beginning than what a person would usually see, which made it so interesting from the first scene.

Focusing on the life of Jackson “Jack” Maine (Bradley Cooper), a country music singer with tinnitus, A Star Is Born reveals how he met Ally (Lady Gaga), an aspiring singer-songwriter, and it tells their story through drama and song.

Their history begins in a bar after one of Jack’s concerts. There, Ally is performing in the company of multiple drag queens, some of her biggest supporters. Ally’s friend, Ramon (Anthony Ramos), spots Jack in the crowd and tells him to stay for Ally’s act. Singing “La Vie en Rose” by Édith Piaf, Ally draws Jack in through her performance, creating a bond that withstood the rest of adversities throughout the story.

Jack is an alcoholic and drug addict. Jack’s addiction quickly becomes the main conflict of the story, unraveling his past and making his relationship with Ally even more powerful.

At Jack’s next concert, he invites Ally onstage to sing a song that she wrote in a parking lot with him the previous night: “Shallow.” A video taken of Ally instantly went viral, sealing the partnership between her and Jack. After one of their later collaborative shows, a music producer, Rez (Rafi Gavron), approaches Ally and offers her a contract with his record label. She accepts, to the chagrin of Jack, and quickly becomes a pop sensation.

With Ally’s fame increasing and his spotlight decreasing, Jack falls deeper into alcoholism. They seem to drift farther apart. Then Jack finds himself on the stoop of a close friend’s house, where he later proposes to Ally. They get married that same day.

Over time, Ally becomes a full-fledged pop star. Jack is still an alcoholic. Ally is now Grammy nominated and Jack is simply performing as backup guitar to a newer celebrity. Jack performs in what appears to the views almost as a dream sequence. Jack’s performance goes by in a literal blur due to the camera, finishing and fast forwarding to Ally’s award. She won Best New Artist. Jack gets up to join her, hardly able to hold himself up. She begins to give her acceptance speech. When she mentions Jack, he makes his way onstage. He props himself up on her. Suddenly gasps and laughter ripple throughout the audience, and the camera pans up to the main screen, showing Jack having peed his pants.

Jack is then rushed offstage and Ally meets him in the room, accompanied by her father (Andrew Dice Clay), who reprimands Jack for ruining Ally’s big night. Jack later checks into rehab.

In the rehabilitation community, Jack reveals truths about himself that we, the viewers, didn’t know. For example, he confirms his tinnitus, telling his counselor about hearing a constant ringing in his ear, and he also shares his attempted suicide earlier in his life.

Jack returns home from rehab after expressing his regrets to Ally, promising to be a better person, which he has become. Following this, tension, emotions and forgiveness are introduced, sweeping the theater and resolving the story.

This ending was the part that resonated most with me. Using foreshadowing as the main technique, viewers had to infer what had happened at some parts and figure out the meaning between the words for others. It made a movie almost interactive for me. Even after the movie ended and I left the theater, I discovered more and more hints that I hadn’t caught during the viewing.

Paired with the beautiful sound work and videography, the music written for this movie was incredible. Including pop, country, ballads and classics, the soundtrack made the reach of the movie even further. With many songs by Gaga and Cooper, the chemistry between their characters is exemplified by these customized duets.

Jack’s story, following his addiction, meeting his soulmate and following the course of fame was written and portrayed incredibly by Cooper. He helped bring the character of a star struggling to stay alive, sane and in the spotlight to the big screen– a task that is not easily done.

Gaga, on the other hand, helped bring to life the character of an unknown girl who is suddenly swept into the public eye. Other people seem to think so as well, seeing the overwhelming responses in the award show community.

Helping the movie gain two of its seven awards at the Oscars, Gaga and Cooper both won the titles of best actor and actress, and deservingly so. Their voices, telling the story of an addict who found love in a world where the odds were stacked against him, give the tale life. Their voices helped convince viewers even more that when paired with each other, they could accomplish most things.

Having been remade three times in the past, A Star Is Born has almost become a classic. Using famous actresses in the roles of the unknown stars (such as Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland and Janet Gaynor), the concept has been one that is timeless.

Hopefully, they remake this once again in the future. The story is one that helps remind people that there can be a break from the onslaught of other portions of life. A fantastical plot like this is one that should be told for years to come. However, if they don’t end up remaking it, I doubt anyone will be upset, considering the quality, the chemistry and the artistry portrayed by this version.