A Star Is Born ★★★½

Bradley Cooper marks a *mostly* confident film debut in retelling a timeless story for the fourth time in his version of A Star Is Born. At the core of this emotionally resonating tale are two stories: a story about the ascendance of a talented artist and show business, and a tragic downfall of a man battling personal demons. Cooper’s A Star Is Born proves such reinvigoration of a familiar, crowd-pleasing story with an A-level acting and powerful music.

This film is almost… perfect, until its disastrous second act which is bogged down by Cooper’s directorial choices. The first half is pretty great with such dynamic energy and chemistry establishing its characters’ ambitions and relationships. The music is also interjected in a seamless fashion juxtaposing the dilemmas of its characters. In second act, the story goes into darker territory and exposes Cooper’s directorial weaknesses. The handling of Jack’s suicide is unconvincing and not cinematic enough, while the finale lacked the gut-punching awe that I was expecting. The editing mishap is so unnecessary and disastrous that it cut the emotional continuity of Gaga’s powerful aria “I’ll Never Love Again.” It left me in such confusion and awe at first then annoyed and detached in a quick second.

The acting department is strong: Cooper is delivering his best performance of his career—wounded, and extremely vulnerable. While Lady Gaga proved her critics wrong giving such a naturalistic, bold, and inspiring presence throughout. Gaga’s songwriting skills is beyond the charts—POWERFUL STUFF. Sam Elliott gives a major impression with bits of emotionally powerful moments. Ditto Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle. Overall, A Star Is Born is very good, besides its weak second act. The music just elevated the material and makes you forget its shortcomings.

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