Veteran rock icon Jackson Maine (Cooper) is finding more pleasure in the bottom of a bottle than in playing his music. After a booze-soaked concert, he ducks into a dive bar and hears Ally (Gaga) belting out “La Vie En Rose”. Struck by her raw talent and charisma, he ultimately invites her to sing on stage with him, and she becomes a sensation. Jackson and Ally fall in love and marry, but as her star ascends, he is left facing a fading career and destructive inner demons.
This oft-told story gets a 21st century update in Cooper’s assured and impressive directorial debut. Beyond co-writing the screenplay, he also sings and delivers a deeply felt performance as the grizzled singer. Meanwhile Gaga virtually disappears into Ally, letting her blazing passions emerge gradually. With music scenes shot live at Coachella and Glastonbury, the film explodes with sonic power; little wonder the film won an Oscar for Best Song. Beyond the music, the sizzling chemistry between Cooper and Gaga really puts this one over. This “Star” is that rare thing: a remake that honors if not improves on the original musical classic of 1954. Encore!