There is a moment in Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star is Born where Ally (Lady Gaga) sings “always remember us this way” to a crowd discovering the true extents of her talents. While the song nicely foreshadows the romance that she and Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) will embark on, it also nicely encapsulates the experience of watching the film. One cannot help but be swept up both by the romance and the amount of talent on display.

Though the world was not clamouring for another remake of A Star is Born, Cooper’s confident direction remind us what makes the story so endearing. It is not so much about the fall of musician Jackson Maine during the subsequent rise of Ally, but rather the depth of their love. A love that had to be strong enough to combat the wall of addiction that constantly threatened to rip them apart.

Staying true to plot thread of the previous versions, the film charts how a drunken Jackson, a man on the declining side of his musical stardom, discovers a talented Ally while she is performing “La Vie En Rose” at a bar. Instantly taken with her potential, Jackson will stop at nothing until the world hears Ally’s songs. However, with his addiction and overall health getting worse, as Ally’s pop career is taking off, it is not long before the pair’s once passionate romance turns volatile.

Conveying a surprising amount of skill behind the camera, bringing a romantic and an emotional potency to simply moments such as close-ups on Ally’s face, Cooper shows much promise as a director. Conversation that are clearly improvised still manage to feel natural.

Cooper also displays wonderful chemistry with Lady Gaga, who is dynamite in the film, in front of the camera. Their performances come across as so effortlessly; just as one observes Ally’s talents unfold, Cooper and Gaga reveal another facet to themselves that is engaging to watch. One of the pleasant surprises of the year A Star is Born, respects the source material while forging its own unique and unforgettable path.

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