A Star is Born.

A Star is Born 2

By Joanna Langfield

Bradley Cooper has a lot to say in this effective, beautifully made movie.

Whether you’ve seen other versions of this show business melodrama or not, you can’t help but be drawn in by this one, a smart and emotional modern day story of musicians grappling with the many consequences of fame, addiction and love.

Cooper, who has delivered fine performances before, has never been as compelling as he is here, under his own (remarkable first time) direction, magnetic and tragic, as the now Jack (‘Norman’ in other tellings) Maine, a country superstar, wrestling with his own demons when he meets the fresh talent Ally, played by a quite lovely and great sounding, of course, Lady Gaga. Jack, we are told, believes all an artist can offer the world is his best version of the same 12 notes other artists have played over and over again. This does feel somewhat like this production itself, Cooper and company tackling a remake, one that has been made for several generations, and, indeed, giving us the best version they can.

Gaga’s legion fans will love watching the star strip down, never more beautiful, I think, than when we all meet her, brown hair framing her makeupless face. But they also will feel chills as she breaks into her more signature performances, songs clearly written to spinoff onto a life of their own. And Cooper the director is as meticulous and generous with his supporting actors as he is with his stars. Sam Elliott is heart breaking, terrific Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle lead a roster of wonderful actors doing wonderful work.

See this movie, and I hope that you do, with the best sound system you can. Sound is as essential here as are the messages about integrity, fame, depression and, maybe most of all, love.