The following gets into spoilers for Bradley Cooper's new A Star Is Born. So stop reading now if you haven't seen the movie, or any of the previous three versions of A Star Is Born that have been produced.
The final shot in A Star Is Born is a stunner. After two-plus hours of Ally (Lady Gaga) avoiding the camera, or not being aware that she has been the subject of the lens, the pop star mourns her husband, and ends the movie with a powerful stare right into the camera's eye... and right into our souls. It's a very deliberate shot, and a very deliberate choice, so when CinemaBlend sat down with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga to discuss the film, we had to ask them the significance of the image, and Cooper told us:
That's the moment the star is born. I mean, to me. It's for you to say, as a viewer, but to me the movie ends with the star being born. Because she's finally able to be herself, and she's willing to look out to you, the viewer, and say, 'Here I am.'
When you think about it, even though she had been performing in various stages, and ON various stages throughout the movie, it is only once Ally is done mourning her husband that he's capable of moving on and coming to terms with who she is as an artist. To begin with, she sort of lives in the shadow and influence of his music, the music of Jackson Maine. Then, Ally gets pushed and pulled by a manager who wants her to thrive as a shallow pop star. But now that she's on her own, she's ready to persevere, and triumph.
To that end, Lady Gaga added:
And the idea, also, of a true star being the human courage. To persevere, and to move forward. I just thought this was brilliant. And I remember when we shot that scene, he came over to me right after we shot it... I didn't see playback almost ever. But he played it back for me and he showed me, and he was like, 'This is going to be the last frame of the film.' He knew right there.
Because it's an ending. But it's also a beginning. Bradley Cooper went on to tell us that Ally's career is just starting, and she'll likely go on to achieve incredible success as a singer and songwriter. But his movie focuses on her origin, and the final shot, as he says, is the moment that the star is born.