Venice, August 2018, 7:15 PM.
Lady Gaga enters the Main Hall for the first time to watch her movie at the Film Festival. Since a couple of hours, the critics have been allowed to share their reviews on the morning screening. The world was waiting for the first impressions to come out, alongside with the 76 millions fans who are following the new Hollywood star into this new surprising journey.
The reviews are groundbreaking and to some extent some of them are hard to get, knowing the reputation of some journals. This overhype gives us hope. At the end of the movie, the entire room was thinking the same thing: the film is a success! But we were carefully wondering: are the top reviews spoiling the fans’ expectation? Or do we just need to understand their perspective?
The movie begins with Bradley and his first song. The room vibrates and becomes instantly excited, a solo rock guitar sound fills the air and immediately everyone understands something they may have underestimated: Bradley’s voice is unbelievably good. Deep, controlled and rock.
Lady Gaga has undoubtly one of the most powerful and interesting voice in the modern industry, but Bradley shows unexpected skills which confirm that the main male character of the movie is as solid as his female counterpart.
While still watching this incredible first scene, hype and expectations go to their highest, but an unexpected movie direction takes away the fun. Still confused, we see Gaga for the first time, almost immediately put on trial by an important scene. Are we satisfied but her first impression? Of course we are, but maybe we are blinded by our feelings for her. At the moment she is still Gaga in our eyes, the true Ally still has to show herself. And she will come kinda late.
During the first half of the movie, Bradley’s directing hands stand out. The fast screenplay and the character’s background are thrown into a cauldron that makes the viewers feel a bit dizzy, and may result confusing. The photography seems accurate, but some scenes are so hard to digest that, before it happens, another one starts.
We start to feel that we are far away from the modern style of La La Land; Bradley surprises us with his directing skills, every songs looks like a live tour video, but still he does not convince us entirely even if it is just the first half of the movie.
A Star is Born is a raw movie, rock, almost dirty. There’s nothing colourful or fresh in this movie like the recent musicals. This remake feels like something new, a fresh wind that smells like whiskey. A movie like this really stands out against the other. We are very far from the dialog-songs of Les Miserables, and also much farer than the catchy pop songs of The Greatest Showman. The Soundtrack sounds immediately like a Titanic work.
The more you go on with the movie, the more you understand that each song is a hit. Not just commercially; if every musical in history has a couple of songs that stand out and represent the movie in the coming years, with A Star Is Born we find a dozen of songs that already sound immortal.
Bradley Cooper himself said that he wanted to make this movie after attending a Metallica Concert. That is the main reason why Bradley songs are totally rock, meanwhile Gaga’s ones are lighter, but still immortal.
The first half hour of the movie does not let the viewer feel comfortable with the screenplay. Probably that’s because we are more focused on watching Gaga, but some of the first dialogues sound like nothing special. Still, there are some highlights in some of these dead moments of the movie which wake up the entire room. In the first scenes, for example, we find some known faces from Ru Pauls’ Drag Race, who gives the movie that little taste of Gaga.
It feels like Gaga dropped some little pieces of her essence in this movie. But the more we keep watching, the more we understand that it’s not just a little piece, it’s the entire movie that smells like Gaga. The entire Ally’s background and story, totally recalls Gaga’s s career since she was Stefani.
Some lines sound literally ripped of from a bunch of her famous interview. We think that this choice was made to make Gaga feel closer to her character. But for us Little Monsters, it feels like an never ending way of referencing Gaga’s story. There are even a lot of familiar faces in the movie and there is also an entire dialog (which will probably be remembered forever) about Ally’s nose.
Getting closer to end of the movie, when Ally’s story goes a little in the background and the movie switches to Jack’s problems, the viewers finally understand the deep meaning behind. Depression, addiction, fame and family, all these topic are interconnected in a perfect direct and not censored way. Sam Elliot (who plays a very important role) sparks like a gem, thanks to his acting skills, which we think could totally lead him to a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
At the end, the movie seems simple, dark and it makes you feel like to watch it again. The core is undoubtedly the soundtrack. It almost feels like the entire movie was recorded around it. Imagine the underground - rock stile of Born this Way mixed with the eternal old school and simple style of Joanne. BAM! This is what it feels like. The soundtrack is all sung LIVE. This details should not be forgotten, because it really gives the movie a lot of good points in production.
We are really sure that every fan will love the movie and will also be surprised by his deep and dark mood. Probably even the general public will. Some people will find it boring and cheap, but it is okay to have different opinion. Personally we loved it very much, Gaga really plays a convincing Ally character most of the time, and Bradley is a PERFECT partner. The screenplay could have been written better, just like the picture, and the directing that makes the viewer feels a little lost sometimes. Each song still brings the public down on earth, and gifts us something that will accompain us in the coming years. Each Gaga song makes you cry (except for the few pop songs that have a particular role in the movie), and this makes you understand the power and beauty of the composition.
The true hit in the soundtrack shows up during the first part of the movie, where the characters are introduced. The song gets stuck in the head for the hours and days later.
Everything, anyway, becomes tiny if compared to the masterpiece that is the final song. Whitney Houston. A perfect song in the style of The Bodyguard, which Gaga wanted to customise with an amazing falsetto, giving that touch of originality without any fear to dare. From the first 2 seconds of the song you already feel like it will become an immortal song that everyone, even the future generations, will remember.
The movie is solid and it certainly has some flaws, but with some other highlights and its soundtrack becomes a very enjoyable movie, in which a lot of people will see themselves. It will mark history for sure, even without all the overhype from the press that usually distorts the expectations and the focus; A Star Is Born doesn’t need any push to get directly nominated for an Oscar.