Ever since the trailer for ‘A Star Is Born’ dropped back in June fans have been eagerly awaiting the fourth incarnation of the romantic flick. The remake (of a remake of a remake) of the 1937 classic has been given a modern update, starring Bradley Cooper (also in his directorial debut) as boozing country singer Jackson Maine who falls in love with Ally, a talented young waitress-cum-singer (Lady Gaga), and was given its premier at Venice Film Festival last Friday (31st August).
The reactions across the board have been positive, praising in particular Cooper’s direction, and Gaga’s performance.
A first review for Talkhouse, accidentally published ahead of embargo last week, lauded ‘A Star Is Born’ as an “instant classic”, saying: “It’s one of those rare movies that grabs you from the opening shot and then just gets better and better with each passing scene”.
And further reviews have continued to heap praise upon the film:
— Sleighvid Opie ? (@DavidOpie) August 31, 2018
A Star is Born: Gaga takes to acting like Cher rather than Madonna, songs are great, I shed a few tears, and there's an excellent Shangela cameo – I hope it's a huge hit #Venezia75
— Paul O'Callaghan (@PaulOCallaghan) August 31, 2018
How good is #AStarIsBorn? It's a total emotional knockout, directed by Bradley Cooper on a high wire of emotion, and he and Lady Gaga are stunning together. This is what movies are all about. My review from Venice: https://t.co/mjZncnuolx
— Owen Gleiberman (@OwenGleiberman) August 31, 2018
Well, #AStarIsBorn is weird, dysfunctional & a little fucked up & that actually saves it from being a typical mainstream bore & makes it into its own unique little thing. A bit hard to fancy at first it, it wins you over with sincerity. And its awkwardness. #Venezia75
— Beatrice Behn (@DansLeCinema) August 31, 2018
A Star is Born – So cheesy, so cliche, so surface level in every way, but also so enjoyable, so catchy, so charming. The singing makes it all worth it, even though the rest of it is okay. Made my eyes roll, but also made my foot tap. Bradley Cooper gives the best performance.
— Alex Billington @ IDFA (@firstshowing) August 31, 2018
Happy to report that Lady Gaga is good in A STAR IS BORN. Music is too. And Sam Elliott is *great* #Venice75
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) August 31, 2018
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave the film five stars, saying: “Cooper directs and co-stars in this outrageously watchable and colossally enjoyable new version, supercharged with dilithium crystals of pure melodrama. He appears opposite a sensationally good Lady Gaga, whose ability to be part ordinary person, part extraterrestrial celebrity empress functions at the highest level at all times.”
Time’s Stephanie Zacharek praised Cooper and Gaga’s sensitive onscreen relationship, saying: “The basic Star is Born story is geared so you pity the man almost more than you admire the woman. In every version, the man threatens to steal the show with his own degradation; the woman’s protective fortitude is far less interesting. But as an actor, Cooper fades into the corner at just the right moments, allowing Gaga to shine.”
Meanwhile Entertainment Weekly‘s Leah Greenblatt praised Gaga’s “serious-actress transformation”, saying “she certainly deserves praise for her restrained, human-scale performance as a singer whose real-girl vulnerability lands miles away from the glittery meat-dress delirium of her own stage persona.”
However the BBC’s Nicholas Barber, deemed Rafi Gavron’s portrayal of Ally’s manager Rez: “such a clichéd villain that he might as well have been named Soulless McMoneybags”, also criticising the screenplay’s lack of detail, saying: “A Star Is Born puts terrific care and attention into depicting the night when the lovers meet and mosey around town together, but after that it flicks cursorily through the rest of their professional and personal lives as if it were glancing at someone else’s holiday photos. It never looks closely at who they are or what they want.”
However in general the reception to the film has been positive, with the film currently holding a score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.
‘A Star Is Born’ is in cinemas October 5, 2018.