Why Bradley Cooper is the real star of A Star is Born

 

A revelatory turn from Lady Gaga in the musical remake might have hogged the headlines but with a deeply felt performance and slick direction, the actor deserves awards buzz too Gaga is very good indeed in the film, though some of the praise for her performance has misleadingly created the impression of a one-woman show. A Star is Born has always, in all its iterations, been an actors’ duet: just as out-of-the-blue pop star Ally (Gaga) is first enabled, then emboldened and, finally, given a cruel emotional education by dissolute country-gravel growler Jackson Maine (Cooper), it remains a song of female self-realisation that relies, admittedly none too progressively, on male anguish as its bassline. As with all aspects of his unfussily accomplished directorial debut, Cooper directs his glittering co-star with a sure, generous hand. But his own performance isn’t merely holding up his end of the bargain: it’s pretty damn spectacular in itself, an exercise in old-school movie star swagger with all its flayed masculine insecurities and frayed nerve endings exposed. Couple that with a credible bourbon-rock croon and arena presence, and his performance is as image-expanding in its own way as Gaga’s: it’s not the one that’s hogging the headlines, but it may be the rough, scarred heart of the film. If no one is calling Cooper’s work on screen revelatory, that’s because it isn’t. Why Bradley Cooper is the real star of A Star is Born

thumbnail courtesy of theguardian.com

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