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  1. Posted about it in the movie watchers thread already but fuck it, this needs a topic of it's own. Having never seen any of the previous four (4!) adaptations of this story but being aware of them (and having no interest in them) I was somewhat surprised when I watched the trailer for this a few months back and was immediately on-board the Hype Train. There was just *something* at work in that trailer that was drawing me in, but I couldn't say what it was. Was it Cooper's sun-burnt, addled cowboy crooner? Blue eyes brimming with adoration and watering from being perpetually sozzled? Was it Gaga's dowdy transformation into Ally; the small-city girl with big lungs and bigger talent, convinced they could go nowhere because of her even bigger nose? Was it the brief glimpse of Sam Elliot; who's mere presence is enough to justify giving a film a watch? Or was it the soundtrack which seemed to be pressing all my buttons, sticking in my brain and playing over and over, promising a perfect marriage of material and sound? Folks, it was all of that and I'm delighted to report that the film is a goddamn delight from start to finish - even when it's getting pretty ugly (which it does) and tragic (which it also does, for various reasons.) I honestly can't remember a time when I've been so invested in a film I've been watching. Shit, I'm a Marvel fanboy and fucking loved Infinity War but did I preorder it on Blu-ray before I even left the cinema? No. Did I also order a Jackson Maine costume for Halloween in the middle of the night? Also no but now that I think about it..... There is just so much that works in this film that it's hard to know where to begin. Is it realistic? Probably not. Is it believable though? 100% yes. All the relationships in the film play like gangbusters; from Jack and Ally all the way down to the drag queen buddies who steal the 1st act. There's not one false note to be found and if this film doesn't get ALL the nominations and the majority of the wins at the Oscars I will eat my hat. There's some weird stuff in it though. I'm not sure that I bought into the image of Jackson Maine the way I was supposed to. The film clearly paints his addiction and faults and shows his struggle against them but even when he's being a complete dick, the film clearly wants you to support his decisions. There's also some real "really?" moments where Jack is shown taking charge of Ally and forcing decisions on her, only to be proved right later on. They even fight over her own agency but I can't decide if the film realises that it's guilty of the very thing he is upset about. Cooper is great, of course, as the damaged Jackson and he can sing. Gaga is PHENOMENAL as Ally, a real star-making turn is captured here. She manages to show real vulnerability and honesty in Ally, and divorces her from the real-life Gaga personality which is no mean feat - especially in the latter half when Ally's career veers dangerously close to real-life Gaga territory. As the film closed, with a dozen catchy songs ringing in my ears (seriously, 'Shallow' is the duet that's getting all the airplay now but 'Always Remember Us This Way' and - ooft - 'I'll Never Love Again' are absolute all-timers imo) I was left with some grit in my eye. I wasn't crying, I was allergic to feelings. Which is a terminal condition if you're watching this film. It's a fucking roller-coaster and I loved every minute. 10/10 for 'A Star Is Born (2018)'
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