A Star is Born

Rated 5.0

It’s movie magic at its most beautiful when Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga share the screen in A Star is Born. It’s a rousing remake of the old warhorse rise-to-fame story, and it’s easily the best movie with that title ever made. Considering it’s the fourth, it’s amazing how original the film feels. Cooper makes his feature directorial debut and stars as Jackson Maine, a Southern rocker barely getting through his gigs thanks to too much alcohol, too many pills and a nasty case of tinnitus. The film opens with Cooper live on stage belting out “Black Eyes,” a song that clearly states this movie means business on the musical front. Yes, that’s him singing live—none of that lip-synching bullshit here—and playing a pretty mean guitar. He brings a lot of legitimate musical soul to the role. And he damned well better, because his counterpart in this story is played by none other than Lady Gaga in her fierce feature lead debut. (She had bit parts in Sin City and Muppet movies.) As Ally, a waitress who sings occasionally at the local drag bar, Gaga delivers so well beyond expectations it seems impossible. She’s so good it hurts, especially in the film’s dramatic moments, of which there are many. So, see this one knowing that the goosebumps will rise, the smiles will stretch your face muscles and the tears will flow. A Star is Born is one of the year’s best movies; Cooper and Gaga are one of the all-time great screen pairings. You’ll do yourself a disservice if you miss this one.