‘A Star Is Born’ exposes the unsettling truth about love and addiction



‘A Star Is Born’ captures the connection between an unlikely pair of music lovers, Jack and Ally, played by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

Kathryn Stratz, Staff Writer

A burned out folk-country singer walks into a bar after his show. He watches a girl perform, loves her voice, loves her individuality. He has to meet her.

A huge star has discovered a nobody with raw talent and falls in love with her while simultaneously making her famous. It’s a story that has been told many times, but never in the way that the 2018 “A Star Is Born” tells it.

Produced and directed by Bradley Cooper, who also takes the lead male role of Jackson “Jack” Maine, the movie is the fourth official take on the story.

Cooper is well suited for the role of Jack; he plays the ruggedly handsome yet complete mess of a performer with a growing addiction problem perfectly. The casting of Lady Gaga, on the other hand, seemed a little off. The storyline about an upcoming star whose emphasis was talent and individual sound, not looks and main-stream music, seemed too close to Gaga’s real-life story.

But, looking back on the past three versions of “A Star is Born,” there seems to be a consistent pattern, as the same can be said for Janet Gaynord in the 1937 version, Judy Garland in the 1954 version, and of Barbara Streisand in the 1976 version. All four women were known to want to stay true to themselves with their work.

My initial reaction to the movie is drastically different from my day-later thoughts, as my initial focus was on criticizing the story’s structure.

The plotline was spaced in a way that didn’t really capture one focus of the movie, with the beginning being honestly boring and the end being too short while lacking details.

The focus was not present; the story went from Ally’s blooming career to Jack’s failing career, to his addiction and her overwhelming love for him. I couldn’t honestly decide what the main idea was until the movie was completely over. One could argue that’s a good thing, but for me, this came from a lack of organization as opposed to a deeper, thought-provoking meaning.

Then it hit me. Addiction is the focus. Not just the fight and inevitable relapse, but what it’s like to love an addict.

Cooper perfectly depicts the truly deep and scarring elements of the disease and the fight behind it.

Jack is never seen without a drink and is seen doing various drugs throughout the movie, causing him to not even be a functioning person. The portrayal of addiction was real, raw, and disturbing, with an emphasis on disturbing.

The movie, in its entirety, was well done. The lights, the costume, the makeup, the angles were impeccable.

The singing was great, showcasing Gaga’s natural, folky voice and proving that Cooper can sing just a little. The full-length songs did take away from the attention of the movie, but perhaps a Gaga lover might appreciate that more.

Overall, “A Star Is Born” isn’t really about a star or her career, but about her passionate love for a non-recovering addict.

It was disturbing and not an uplifting viewer experience, so watch with caution. The R-rating is definitely warranted and I would not recommend this movie for anyone who is not emotionally prepared.

Rating: [star rating=”4″]