Scoot: “A Star Is Born” has simple, but redeeming message

October 08, 2018 - 11:04 am

I avoid sad movies.  I don’t go to sad movies, and I refuse to allow a sad movie to ruin a relaxing evening at home.  But I am willing to endure some movies that are sad if there is there a redeeming message and good entertainment on the way to the message.  And such was the case with the newest version of “A Star Is Born” starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

Describing “A Star Is Born” as a sad movie is not exactly a spoiler since the original dates back to 1937 with remakes in 1954 and 1976.  But this is a sad movie with excellent acting and an important message that could serve to prevent a sad ending in someone’s actual life.

The new “A Star Is Born” stars Bradley Cooper, who also directed the film, as Jackson Maine, a fading superstar fighting inner demons. Lady Gaga plays Ally, a shy, talented, inexperienced singer and songwriter Cooper’s character recognizes her and helps her come out of her shell.

Bradley Cooper is an actor who is a singer, and Lady Gaga is a singer who is an actor in the movie.  Both create believable characters on the screen, but it is the chemistry between Cooper and Lady Gaga from their first meeting early in the movie that is magical and endures without strain throughout the story. 

Other notable performances include Sam Elliot, who plays Cooper’s brother Bobby and the unrecognizable Andrew Dice Clay, who plays Gaga’s father Lorenzo.  Dave Chappelle is Jackson’s long-time friend Noodles, who provides comfort after finding Jackson passed out drunk in his neighborhood.  All provided outstanding performances that enhanced the movie’s storyline.

Bradley Cooper became a singer for this role and is convincing in his portrayal of a rock star who is reaching a point where the alcohol and the pills are beginning to take a massive toll on his professional and personal life.  Cooper is excellent in this role, and his performance and directorial role will launch Bradley Cooper to a new level in his career.  Lady Gaga’s performance will continue to showcase her talent beyond the initial outrageous outfit and make-up image that introduced her in the beginning.

As good as the music and the performances of the music were in the film, I was disappointed that there were not more songs that seemed destined to become mainstream hits.  With the exception of the touching ballad “I’ll Never Love Again,” brilliantly performed by Lady Gaga in the last scene of the movie, I didn’t hear songs with memorable hooks that are destined for chart-topping status.  But that is only a minor criticism since the music perfectly fits the story of the movie.

The redeeming value for anyone, like myself, who avoids sad movies, is a strong message that resonates today.  Bradley Cooper’s character has a drinking problem and uses alcohol to chase down prescription meds.  You get a sense that he is a functioning druggie and alcoholic; but as time goes on, his ability to keep his demons in check is fading, along with his career.  Up for interpretation is whether his fading career is causing his drug and alcohol abuse or is the abuse causing his career to fade.  Either way, the end result is the same.

Bradley Cooper’s character is hauntingly relatable for so many people, as if the character Lady Gaga plays.  Ally (Gaga) loves Jack (Cooper); and even with her skyrocketing success as a singer and performer, her love for him remains strong as she is determined to stick with him and help him, even though he has caused her great professional embarrassment.

The message of “A Star Is Born” is simple, but difficult for those fighting substance abuse problems to recognize.  The message is: listen to the person who loves and cares about you.  It is the defense of one’s substance abuse and their weakened state of mind that renders them incapable of listening to that person who cares the most about them.

For the person fighting substance abuse, the routine escape the drugs and alcohol provide is stronger than the words and actions of the person who is trying to let you know that you are valuable for who you are and not for the person you think you need to be.  Often, people are afraid to be who they really are; and it is the drugs and alcohol that make them feel worthy enough to be in this life. 

As faint as the cries for change may be - listen to that person who loves you and who is trying to help you. 

“A Star Is Born” is worth the experience.  It is always a good sign when the movie audience applauds in the theater when the movie ends, and that’s what I experienced when I saw the movie over the weekend.




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