Review / ‘A Star Is Born’ (M) ****

THIS is the fifth, English-language film carrying the title “A Star Is Born” and the eighth telling its story. All come with impressive credentials. This one I’ll remember with satisfaction.

You can understand why Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta changed her professional name to Lady Gaga – otherwise, TV comperes would spend too much air time introducing her. She follows Constance Bennett (1932, Janet Gaynor (1937), Judy Garland (1954) and Barbra Streisand (1976) in English-speaking versions of the story of what happens when a young performer takes the eye of an older star who drinks too much, marries him, overtakes him in the fame stakes and mourns him when he ends it all.

The 2018 version is a full book for Bradley Cooper. In company with writer Eric Roth, he updated the screenplay by Gene Fowler for “What Price Hollywood” adapting a novel by Adela Rogers St Johns in 1932 and subsequently developed by some very distinguished writers and directors to reflect the passage of the years. Bradley Cooper also directs this 2018 version. And he plays Jack, the alcoholic singer and guitarist who hears this young waif in a gay bar performing “La Vie En Rose” in a cracking version of Piaf’s original.

This film ends 136 minutes later with Lady G singing at Jack’s memorial. It tells the story with acceptable credibility and respectable restraint. Like its predecessors, it looks set to figure large when Hollywood next gazes at its navel at the Oscars.

At all cinemas

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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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