First Hit: First part of the film is engaging, however towards the end it less fetching and with a 135 minute running time, needed to be trimmed.
This felt like two separate films. The first part is engaging, and buying into the characters is easy. We are introduced to Jack (Bradley Cooper), a boozing leader of a popular band, in concert delivering raspy singing and playing wild guitar in-front of a huge adoring crowd.
Driving away from the concert he wants another drink and finds a bar. In the bar, he watches Ally (Lady Gaga) sing a fantastic rendition of La Vie En Rose. Jack is enthralled and heads backstage and after conversation they head to another bar to talk.
Jack discovers that Ally also writes songs, good ones. They begin a romantic relationship, and he invites her to sing one of her songs with him in front of an audience of thousands. Her insecurities, which are explored when she and Jack are hanging out in a bar, stem from what she says is her too-large of a nose. This reason for her insecurity wasn’t believable to me. A quick review of others who played this role, Barbara Streisand, has a far more unique nose. This wasn’t the best thing to select for Ally’s anxiousness. However, this is where the audience is hooked, and also where the movie begins to meander.
As the film journeys onward, we’ve bought into their love because their chemistry is excellent and Lady Gaga as an actress is fully believable. Cooper, we know, can act his pants off, and for the most part he’s good here, but I couldn’t help but sense there was some struggle with him directing himself.
The last half of the film is where this film begins its decline. For me, Jack never really seems to, or appears to, clean up from his drinking and drug use, although he supposedly does. When he finally cleans up, Ally’s music and business manager Rez Gavron (Rafl Gavron) tells Jack, that he’ll be the reason for Ally’s downfall if he continues to associate musically with his wife Ally.
At this point it becomes obvious what’s going to happen, as the clues are poignantly spread out during the course of the film.
Cooper as an actor was excellent more towards the beginning of the film, but it seemed to fall off towards the end. I have no idea of the sequence in which the film was shot but there is a noticeable difference between the beginning and end of this movie. As a director and producer, there seemed too many scenes and prudent trimming would have helped to overall presentation. As an aside, he did a great job of playing a musician on stage. Gaga was extraordinary. She is a natural on the screen and this part was perfect for her to introduce acting into her repertoire. Gavron was strong as Ally’s career guiding manager. Sam Elliot (as Bobby, Jack’s older brother) was wonderful as the older brother who did his best to raise Jack. Andrew Dice Clay (as Andrew, Ally’s father) was sublime. I’m happy to see him in this role without the “Diceman” attitude. Anthony Ramos, as Roman, was wonderful as Ally’s best friend. Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper wrote a good script, although it needed to be trimmed. Cooper, as previously stated, directed this film.
Overall: The singing was terrific, and it showcases the talent of Lady Gaga