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Movie Review: A Star is Born, (Spoiler Alert)

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By:  Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.

And I say spoiler alert even though I realize almost everyone on the planet has seen one of the previous versions — except of course me. I hadn’t and I felt like the only person on the planet that didn’t know the main character was going to die.

A Star is Born is one of the most remade movies in Hollywood history. The love story is a story for the ages and has been made current in each of its remakes in a way that makes it feel timely and relevant every time. The current version, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is remake number four.

I’m going to be honest. I feel like an outlier here. I’m seeing my Facebook feed light up with reviews from people who loved the movie enough to see it more than once. I will not be in the list of moviegoers. Once was enough for me. It was too hard to watch for a number of reasons.

This movie should have come with a couple of serious trigger alerts. Anyone who has been affected by alcohol or drug addiction is going to feel this storyline very differently. It’s a raw, all too real story of addiction in it’s most painful form – the kind of addiction that doesn’t go away.

For anyone who’s personally struggled with addiction, I would say this movie is a no go. It paints a picture that doesn’t offer a lot of hope for recovery. For anyone who’s ever loved an addict, be prepared to just take your heart out and hold it tenderly for days afterward. This movie will bring up some serious shit to process.

Additionally, and maybe even more importantly, the suicide at the end of the movie is hard to watch, even though you don’t actually see it happen. One thing this movie did extraordinarily well was make you feel like you know the characters. Knowing Jackson they way I felt like I did, I could see the writing on the wall, but still found myself seriously shocked when he took his life. Again, if you’ve been touched by suicide personally, this is going to feel way too personal and tragic because by the time you get there, you’re in love with Jackson also.

Now, in all fairness, I could watch Bradley Cooper read a dictionary for two hours and seventeen minutes and pay full price for that. I am a fan and this probably his best performance to date. I’m not sure what they did to make his eyes seem even bluer, but even the straightest man on the planet could probably get lost in those eyes for a long time if he’s not careful. And who knew he could sing?? Seriously. He’s good – maybe even great.

Lady Gaga was divine. Her powerful, angel-like vocals were a beautiful match for her near-flawless acting debut. You never forget who she is, but she falls into that roll in a way that it will be hard to remake this movie again because Lady Gaga owns it completely. The soundtrack for this movie is iconic.

And yes, there is the chemistry everyone is talking about. You don’t just watch them fall in love. You feel them fall in love. Then you feel her fall into the co-dependant spiral of loving an addict. It’s the kind of insanity that makes sense and you still wish you could save her.

I think that’s the reason this story has been worth repeating so many times. It’s a human story about fragile people fighting a battle they will not win. It’s painful. It’s real. And it’s familiar.

There is a lot of early Oscar buzz for A Star is Born. I’m guessing there will be more than one nomination for this movie, probably including Bradley Cooper for his directorial debut. Whoever gets nominated probably deserves it.

A Star is Born made me feel like I’d just spent two hours and seventeen minutes watching people I cared about fall in love and then lose themselves and in the end lose each other. I don’t want to see this movie again and it’s not because it’s not well done. I don’t want to see it again because it’s done too well.

Bottom line: Do not go see this movie if you’re looking to feel good when you walk out of the theater. You won’t. However, if you’ve got some good mood to spare, it’s worth the price of admission to feel something deeply that will distract you from all the politics in the world – at least for two hours and a few minutes.

 

 

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