Vince East’s review published on Letterboxd:
78% - Very Good
Added to 2018 Ranking (#28/109)
I’m listening to Shallow as I write this review; it’s been on repeat since I left the theater. As a musical, A Star Is Born definitely delivers, with some great songs that complement the story well and really stick with you. However, what I found particularly special about this film is that the title doesn’t just refer to the characters. Lady Gaga is born as a star actress in her debut and Bradley Cooper has proven himself to be a very skilled director. Both are great in the film: Cooper’s performance is heartbreaking and Gaga shows off her fantastic voice. The thing is, not only do they excel at what they do best, but Cooper’s singing is surprisingly heartfelt and Gaga’s acting is effective in how she embodies a stripped down persona that is vastly different from herself. The supporting cast also deserves some credit as one of the strongest performances comes from Sam Elliott; his relationship with Cooper makes for some really emotional scenes. In fact, the film itself takes you a on a very emotional journey as you go through so much with these characters.
Be that as it may, the final gut punch didn’t quite hit me as hard as I expected. Also, being that I’ve seen the previous versions, I wasn’t surprised in the direction the story went. Nonetheless, the way the film was executed really worked for me, from the performances to the small twists Cooper added to provide some freshness. As far as remakes go, I still prefer the Judy Garland version, but this is what the Streisand version should have been and I enjoyed it about on par with the original 1937 version.