In the first part of this review, we have had a short overview of the movie. Now, we discuss the prongs of what makes “A Star is Born” a masterpiece. Let’s start with one of the juiciest bulk of the film: Ally and Jackson’s love.
Love as Ally, Love as Jack
“A Star is Born” has a creative way of portraying Ally. We see her strong personality from the get-go. The first introduction we have of her is her breaking up with her boyfriend in the bathroom. We also see the way she fights for who she is despite the push of the ‘Hollywood machine’ to transform her into a marketable star. But whenever Jack is involved, whether he is on-screen with her or he is a part of the conversation, we see an entirely different side of her. She is softer, rawer with her emotions. Her anger is more intense whenever Jack criticized her when he confronted her about her Grammy nomination. Her concern is palpable when we see her care for Jack after he collapses on stage. The devotion from her to Jack is so strong to a fault.
In the intensity of how Ally’s feelings are portrayed, there is great subtlety when it comes to how Jack conveys his love for her. These are small nuances in his character. Jack is usually brash and careless. But with Ally, even though he is aware that she doesn’t need to be treated softly, he still does. How he allows himself to be transformed while he is performing is also telling of how much he trusts her. The most revealing, yet the most subtle, is the way Jack looks at Ally whenever she performs. His eyes are always filled with pride whenever we glance at Jack, yet we still see the softness in his gaze that he usually saves for Ally.
Ally and Jack’s love is what can be best described as a hurricane – fast, passionate, and powerful to a fault. What I like about how it is portrayed is that there is a surgent feeling that we see in Jack. He becomes so taken with Ally. We are then forced to look also into her character with the same kind of intensity. And on the flip side, the way Ally shifts into almost a mothering role for Jack makes us examine Jack as more than just the alcoholic that he is portrayed at a surface level.
We are pulled into the tumultuous relationship; as Ally tries her best to balance between her meteoric rise as well as managing her husband’s substance abuse, and as Jackson battles his addiction while he comes with his losing star power. In a way, their relationship became co-dependent. It was evidenced by Ally’s desire to cancel her European tour and possibly jeopardize her career in order to take care of Jack. Or, it could be that Jack still keeps drinking because he is very confident that Ally will always be there for him.
There is one thing about this rendition that I really enjoyed. The way Cooper fleshed out the relationship between the two protagonists is well-depicted. And although this was also featured in the three other movies, the way Ally and Jack fell in love here was so organic and believable. We’re not left wondering how they fell in love because we saw it fall in place. We’re not left here asking why their marriage was failing because we see it pull apart at the seams.
Hungry for more parts of the review? Stay tuned!
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