The 2018 film adaptation of “A Star is Born”, directed by Bradley Cooper, conveys the raw emotion of life, love, and passion, ultimately painting the beautiful story of successful singer Jackson Maine and budding voice Ally Campana.
Behind the crazy busy and passion filled performances of Jackson Maine, Bradley Cooper portrays Jackson’s loneliness and the weaknesses that fester inside him. Although on stage he is able to put on a mask and become the singer Jackson Maine, in reality his tinnitus, together with his drug and alcohol addiction, consumes him from inside.
In the opposite of this elaborate life, Ally, portrayed by Lady Gaga, works as a waitress and after her shift, pursues her dream of becoming a singer at a drag bar. It is here where she captures Jackson’s attention and kickstarts their romance with her performance of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose”.
Jackson seeks Ally out backstage after her performance. This scene marks more than simply their first meeting. Jackson peels off one of Ally’s fake eyebrows, a part of Ally’s elaborate stage makeup. In doing so, Jackson slowly opens his mind to someone else, and Ally starts to regain her unique identity.
The next time Jackson encounters Ally is when he tracks her down at her house, where viewers are able to see her bare-faced and in her natural state. Like a young boy confessing to his crush, Jackson eagerly invites Ally to his performance. Ally initially refuses, yet is forced to attend because Jackson’s chauffeur proceeds to wait outside her house until she consents.
Ally’s entrance to Jackson’s performance is greeted with a gradual crescendo of music and flashing lights. Ally seems entirely comfortable, as if this is the type of atmosphere in which she belongs. Cooper emphasizes upon this feeling through Ally’s vulnerable portrayal.
Lady Gaga, who is known for her impressive, dazzling stage makeup and outfits, is shown with minimal makeup and with casual clothing, allowing viewers to feel Ally’s vulnerability when Jackson, without notice, invites her to sing on her stage. With the performance of a song that she has created, “Shallow”, Ally is able to open the wings to her dreams.
Whether it be the romantic relationship burdened by Jackson’s struggle for sobriety, or Ally’s growing career as a singer, as opposed to Jackson’s steady decline, Cooper does not fail in making sure that the viewers understand that in every seemingly perfect career or relationship, there are always imperfections.
After a period of hard work, Ally has risen to a top singer, who is nominated for and ultimately wins a Grammy. Yet during this time, Jackson’s steadily declining health and career climaxes to him wetting himself while he is drunk on stage during Ally’s acceptance of the Grammy.
Despite those around the two saying that Jackson is an embarrassment to Ally and that he will hold back her budding career, Ally refuses to let go of her now husband Jackson. Jackson decides to enter rehab where he undergoes a mental and emotional journey as he is weighed down by his guilt towards being a supposed flaw in Ally’s life.
After some time, Jackson returns home, completely sober, greeted by Ally with open arms to restart their life. Viewers think that “A Star is Born” will end in a happily ever after, but Cooper is not quite finished in conveying his message.
Jackson, who is not entirely recovered, is met by Ally’s manager, Rez, who claims that he is a blemish in Ally’s life and that he must leave in order for Ally to continue living her life. Jackson, who is unable to hold the weight of his guilt, ends up taking his life.
A heart-broken Ally sings her first performance after her husband’s death, singing the song that he had created for her: “I’ll never love again”. Almost as if Jackson’s sacrifice was what had shaped Ally’s career, Cooper emphasizes the importance of knowing and understanding the imperfections to every seemingly perfect life, alongside the necessity of loving oneself unconditionally before being able to love someone else.