Hard-drinking rock star Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) ends up in a bar one night where he sees a waitress (Lady Gaga) sing an Edith Piaf song; bowled over, he talks to her and soon persuades her to go after a career in music. The fourth version of a story first conceived in the 1930s was a major hit and shows how endearing the material remains. A perfect showcase for Gaga’s musical talents, it also has a good screen performance by her and an excellent one by Cooper as the increasingly tinnitus-stricken and alcoholic rock icon. It is a film that takes its undeniably forceful and engaging music seriously and as a filmmaker Cooper knows which buttons he should push to achieve maximum emotional impact.
2018-U.S. 136 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Bradley Cooper, Bill Gerber, Lynette Howell Taylor, Jon Peters, Todd Phillips. Directed by Bradley Cooper. Screenplay: Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters. Song: ”Shallow” (Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt). Cast: Bradley Cooper (Jackson Maine), Lady Gaga (Ally Campana), Sam Elliott (Bobby Maine), Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos… Dave Chappelle. Cameo: Alec Baldwin.
Trivia: Other original songs performed by Cooper and Gaga are written by Jason Isbell, Diane Warren and Lukas Nelson, Willie’s son.
Oscar: Best Original Song. Golden Globe: Best Original Song. BAFTA: Best Original Music.
Last word: “I was at a cancer benefit with my mother. I really did not know Lady Gaga’s music. They had a surprise musical guest, and Stefani came out with her hair slicked back, and she sang ‘La Vie en Rose.’ I was blown away, like in that old Maxell cassette commercial where the guy’s hair is blown back. I called her agent the next day and said, ‘Can I go to her house and meet her right away?’ I drove to Malibu, and we sat on her porch, and the next thing I know, I’m eating spaghetti and meatballs, and I said, ‘Can we sing a song together?’” (Cooper on meeting Lady Gaga, W Magazine)