Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper are off the deep end in “A Star Is Born”


Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga play musicians in “A Star Is Born.”

Grace Burwell, Arts Writer

On Oct. 5, a star was born… for the fifth time. The fourth and most recent remake of the original 1937 movie “A Star Is Born” features Bradley Cooper as country singer Jackson Maine, and Lady Gaga as aspiring singer-songwriter Ally Campana.

The movie centers around the romance between the two, who start to sing together on stage at Jackson’s concerts. Ally quickly skyrockets to newfound fame, while Jackson struggles with mental illness, substance abuse, and loss of hearing in one ear, all of which end up seriously impacting his career and relationships.

Both actors committed to their roles by transforming into entirely different people. Pop artist Gaga, who is no stranger to singing on camera, took on her first major acting role. Gaga, who is normally recognized performing with white-blond hair, instead sported her natural brown hair for her role as Ally.. In an interview with Business Insider, Cooper revealed that he spent months taking vocal lessons to achieve the low, gravelly voice of his character and learning to play the piano and guitar as well. In addition to starring in “A Star is Born”, Cooper also directed the movie.

The film grossed $43 million in the box offices during its first weekend in theaters, and received a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, an 88% rating on Metacritic, and a 8.3/10 rating on IMDb. “A Star Is Born” had many critics raving, and is predicted to be a front-runner for this year’s awards season. The soundtrack to the movie, which has also received a litany of praise, features dramatic, crooning vocals from both Gaga and Cooper. Many of the songs were co-written by Gaga herself, as well as Lukas Nelson, the music director for the movie.

The soundtrack includes a variety of different songs, such as fast-paced tracks “Why Did You Do That” and “Black Eyes”, and slower, more serious songs, like “Always Remember Us This Way” and “I’ll Never Love Again”, that highlight the movie’s sadder moments. One of Cooper’s signature songs from the film, “Maybe It’s Time”, represents Jackson trying to change his destructive behaviors after he falls in love with Ally. “It takes a lot to change a man, hell it takes a lot to try,” Cooper sings, “maybe it’s time to let the old ways die.”

In arguably one of the most popular songs of the film, “Shallow”, Gaga sings, “I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in.” This song is a fitting representation of the movie’s plot. “Shallow” symbolizes Ally’s sudden transformation from a struggling artist to a famous superstar, hence the title of the movie. In the same song, Gaga sings, “Aren’t you tired tryin’ to fill that void? Ain’t it hard keepin’ it so hardcore?” These lyrics relate to Cooper’s character, Jackson, and how his gruff exterior and alcoholism mask disturbing childhood scars.

Cooper’s and Gaga’s portrayals of their characters convey an important, emotional message. While Jackson wrestles with addiction, Ally deals with pressure from many people in her life, including her boss, manager, and father, and eventually Jackson, and is constantly pushed around and told what to do. Ally’s fame and life with Jackson are stressful and damaging at times. The series of events that lead up to the tear-jerking ending is a reminder to viewers of not only the impact of mental illness and the cost of stardom, but also the love and compassion between two flawed people.