A Star is Born (2018): ‘Bradley Cooper Debuts into Realistic Filmmaking’ – A Film Review



Based upon a film, which was originally about Hollywood, A Star is Born – the directorial debut by Bradley Cooper and staring Cooper and Lady Gaga – isn’t the first remake of the 1937 original. It has been twice before adapted into a musical, changing the story of Hollywood stardom to Music/Rock stars. A Star is Born may have been very topical in its day for the Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema but does perhaps bear a good focus for the reimagining of the Pop world lens. It has, in fact, been stuck in Development Hell for a while as various cast members were attached including Beyoncé. Despite their involvement in the film, the story was never about these stars. Lady Gaga has actually pursued acting previously, so the choice to cast her in this role may have less to do with her persona than herself as an actor playing a character.


The Stars

It may be surprising but A Star is Born is a wonderfully performed film. Bradley Cooper is on the top of his game with the film and despite any skepticism about how Lady Gaga would be, she immediately anchors herself as real. We see her character behind the stage, beneath the make-up and with a huge vulnerability that makes her almost unrecognisable as well as endearing to the audience. Whilst this is paired with a very raw performance by Bradley Cooper as he taps into the severity of addiction but with complete understanding and no judgments. His character imbued with all the reasons for why he makes the mistakes he does and how it progresses as far as it does. The character therefore, at his worst, audiences are embarrassed for and not hating. It’s a tough line to walk and we understand enough about both characters that we share their pain but without losing them.


The Realism

Stylistically the cinematography keeps up with the performances, managing through well-crafted hand-held shots the personal experience of, as well as the performance of music. Keeping the film looking slick but also accentuating the characters in the film. It allows for a very raw and emotional experience for a story that can get very real and harsh at times, not being just glamour at all but desperation and vulnerability too. This makes for an astonishing directorial first piece by Bradley Cooper, as it confidently delves into its subject matter and world building with a great sense of authenticity. It’s a bold film.



A surprisingly hard watch but one that strikes a touchingly emotional chord. One might never have expected something so wonderfully subtle and realistic to come from a film starring Lady Gaga. Making for an almost completely different kind of film than one might expect. Bradley Cooper brings the best out of his actors and the moments within the film, making them memorable and impactful to keep an audience with the characters at all times. Its’ no surprise to learn that many of the moments come from real places and times for the writers and the Director. It’s a very strong first film for Director Bradley Cooper.



Jack (Bradley Cooper) is a successful country singer but has a problem with his hearing, which leads him to drink. After a show he runs into a singer, Ally (Lady Gaga), at a drag club with dreams of becoming a pop star but believes she can’t because of how she looks. Jack decides to push her onto the stage with him in order to help her with her dreams.




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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

A Star is Born (d. William A. Wellman, Jack Conway USA 1937)

A Star is Born (d. Bradley Cooper USA 2018)


Further Reading



Official Site

Interview with Bradley Cooper

Interview with Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga

Interview with the Cast

Creating the Sound

All You Need to Know

Music Video: Shallow


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BlacKkKlansman (2018): ‘Racism Today’ – A Film Review


This was an analytical review of….


A Star is Born (d. Bradley Cooper USA 2018)


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