As far as celebrities go, there are few quite as massive as Lady Gaga. The record breaking pop artist has remained at the top of pop culture since she debuted on the music charts, and she's recently entered the world of acting. After snagging a Golden Globe for her work on American Horror Story: Hotel, Gaga is making her proper movie debut with Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born. The fourth remake of its kind, Cooper is directing and starring in the project, which requires live singing for both leads. A Star Is Born was just premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and the early reviews have hit. The verdict is in, and it looks like the movie is holding true to its title, giving Gaga a big debut a bonafide movie star.
Much of the praise surrounding A Star Is Born is in regards to both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's performances, and the chemistry they share in early scenes of romance and musical collaboration. The Guardian spoke to both stars' work in the film, with:
Cooper directs and co-stars in this outrageously watchable and colossally enjoyable new version, supercharged with dilithium crystals of pure melodrama. He appears opposite a sensationally good Lady Gaga, whose ability to be part ordinary person, part extraterrestrial celebrity empress functions at the highest level at all times.
While early reception praises Bradley Cooper's characterization of Jackson Maine, it's especially impressive given the actor's roles as director and writer. In addition to changing his posture and voice as Maine (plus singing and playing the guitar), Cooper must also ensure that all of the characters are properly serviced through the film. According to Time, that's exactly what he did.
But as an actor, Cooper fades into the corner at just the right moments, allowing Gaga to shine. He recognizes that as a performer, she's larger than life; he's just about life-sized, and there's no shame in that. He also creates a suitable showcase for small but terrific performances from the likes of Dave Chappelle (as one of Jackson's more sensible friends from the music world) and Andrew Dice Clay (as Ally's limo-driving dad, Lorenzo).
Where the movie becomes more pedestrian is in Ally's conquest of superstardom. It's a big disappointment that she trades her authenticity to become, well, an ersatz Lady Gaga. Groomed by aggressive British starmaker Rez (Rafi Gavron), she gets a flashy image makeover with brassy red hair, a hotter wardrobe and a team of backup dancers. Paradoxically, it makes the character less attractive.
A Star Is Born will likely get plenty of comparisons to the previous versions of the film, with Gaga's character previously being occupied by legends like Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand. There will also be comparisons made to other popular movie musicals, with Screen Daily already ranking it for casual moviegoers, saying:
And both stars, Gaga in particular, emerge with honour. That might not be enough to draw a wide public, although the film could register respectably with older viewers who want old-fashioned romance with a grittier touch than Mamma Mia! and a less artsy one than La La Land.
Cinephiles will be able to decide for themselves when A Star Is Born arrives in theaters October 5, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.