Oscar Nominee: A Star is Born

Max Eguizabal, Writer

Making a light film is far easier than making a dark one. Films without much heavy subject matter can go wherever they please, as their sole job is to entertain. Therefore, light films get a lot more leeway when it comes to how it treats its content. Darker films, however, must be respectful, and more importantly, meaningful. A Star is Born is the darkest film in the best picture category, and it is worse off because of it.

A Star is Born deals with some of the heaviest subject matter available to film: addiction, alcoholism, depression, and suicide. These areas must be treated with the utmost respect and depth. However, I believe that A Star is Born bit off too much than it could chew. A whole movie could be made around all of those themes, but in A Star is Born there are several others crammed in: love, romance, how a pop star gets going, the inner workings of the music industry, etc.

The music industry themes feels undercut and underdeveloped, and the heavy themes feel like it was shoved in. Because of this the suicide at the end of the film felt forced, which should never happen in a film of this subject matter. I believe it would have been a much better idea to split the film in two, with one half about addiction and suicide and the other being about the underbelly of the music industry.

Another problem with A Star is Born is the way that it’s cut. It felt like the movie spent a little too much time on the concert and the music, as the story itself focused little on it. If they cut the concerts by 50%, then the movie would also have a lot more time to talk about and develop many of the other themes talked about previously.

The pacing is also a little off throughout the film, where the beginning is far too slow and the ending seems a little rushed. There was quite a bit of plot threads that led nowhere as well. For example, it is reinforced every 20 minutes in the film that Jack has tinnitus. However, there was no pay off for us to know that.

The filmmaking is the best part of the movie. The cinematography, sound mixing, and music are all fantastic. Lady Gaga’s acting is one of the most impressive I have seen. For an almost first time actor, she does an absolute stunning job. The same could not be said for Bradley Cooper. Cooper had an extremely slurry delivery, and he sounded drunk even when Jack was sober.

Overall, A Star is Born bit off too much to chew. There was too much in it for the movie to properly handle. And when you deal with heavy subject matter, it must be developed to the fullest. Therefore, A Star is Born fell flat even with its great production and acting from Lady Gaga.