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Stellar screen debut from Lady Gaga

05 October, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born

A STAR IS BORN
Directed by Bradley Cooper
Certificate 15
☆☆☆

A POP singer who has sold tens of millions of songs, has become a cultural lodestone for contemporary times, has a massive fanbase, and can hold a note.
Who knew?

That Lady Gaga, who stars in this Bradley Cooper-directed fairytale, is also able to pull off a believable act as an aspiring performer, should also not be too much of a surprise. Her stage persona suggests she is well versed in the thespian arts.

Here Gaga plays a singer (not a massive leap for her) who falls in love with a famous rocker and then has to deal with her own rising star while alcoholism washes away the talent of her man.

Ally (Gaga) is a waitress, though at night she takes the stage at a drag bar.

Jackson Maine (Cooper) is the double-denim-wearing, grizzled country-rock act who is battling the bottle and is going deaf but can still woo a stadium of adoring fans.

One night, he runs out of vodka, so pulls over at a bar, steps inside and watches Ally perform.

It is a Cinderella story with a handsome prince who meets his belle, though a bucket of ice is tipped over the proceedings when a horribly heavy plot twist crops up. To reveal more would be too much of a spoiler.

Other turn-offs include the fact that the music is a key factor, and sitting through two hours of faux-country rock mixed with a similarly faux pop music that has no discern­ible features, bar the fact someone famous is singing, is fairly torturous.

Cooper and Gaga are good on screen, ably supported by Andrew Dice Clay as Ally’s crooner-loving dad, who tells Maine: “Paul Anka once said I had more talent than Sinatra.” Much to the guffaws of his mates.

He is the best-observed character of the lot, while Ally’s smarmy English manager offers up some thoughts on misogyny in the music industry.

Gaga’s acting debut is uneven, but as we watch her sing the beautiful La Vie en Rose with an avalanche of panache, she owns the screen.

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