In the span of an incredible eighty-one years, enduring bittersweet love story "A Star Is Born" has been made into four Hollywood features, each one a multiple Oscar nominee or winner; the 1937 original starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric Marsh, 1954's paired Judy Garland with James Mason, and 1976's saw Barbra Streisand joining forces with Kris Kristofferson. The narrative trajectory will be familiar for viewers who have seen those previous renditions, but this 2018 update may be the best one yet, a passionate, authentic, altogether relevant saga proving there is still plenty of life left in this tale of fame, addiction, and sacrifice. The source of the electricity radiating off the screen is twofold; Bradley Cooper's directorial debut is so muscular and assured as to appear to be the work of an established filmmaking great, and the onscreen chemistry between himself and an astonishing Lady Gaga (2014's "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For") positively soars. They—and, really, the entire cast—bring each moment to life, not a tinge of artifice to be found.
Unready to call it a night after performing a big L.A. concert, hard-drinking country rocker Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) stumbles into a drag bar just in time to watch the seductively voiced Ally (Lady Gaga) perform a cover of Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose." He is instantly drawn to her, first for her singing ability and stage presence, and even more so when he meets her for drinks afterward sans make-up and hair dye. Ally is a struggling singer-songwriter who has been told she's not pretty enough to make it in showbiz-a claim about which Jackson staunchly disagrees. When Jackson coaxes Ally onto the stage to perform an original song she shared with him the night before, it is the beginning of a whirlwind romance between an established musician whose erratic behavior and substance abuse are fast dragging him down and a rapidly rising star navigating the tricky waters of a business threatening to steal away her individuality and talent for mass-market, dime-a-dozen soullessness.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review