Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper’s Directorial Debut Is, Naturally, Nearly Perfect

The entertainment renaissance man has now tried and succeeded in almost every facet of film production.

When the same story has been told multiple times on screen, it’s hard for viewers to see the attraction. What makes this movie different than the last time? For “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper makes all the difference. This film is Cooper’s directorial debut and stars Lady Gaga as the female lead.

We’ve mainly seen Cooper on screen, either being the main actor in a romantic comedy or voicing the character of Rocket throughout Marvel films. During an interview with The Washington Post, Cooper mentioned that he’s always had a passion for film. “Cinema was the place where I felt I could excavate and find those personal things inside of me that I wanted to share with people, because movies for me were very healing — and are healing, to this day,“ said Cooper. Along with this film being his directorial debut, Cooper is also the writer and producer.

“A Star Is Born” has been a long-time coming. It was originally supposed to be directed by Clint Eastwood and star Beyoncé as the lead. Due to scheduling conflicts and Eastwood’s retraction to direct the film, Cooper decided to step in.

He wanted the film to be as honest as possible in order to portray the struggles of the main character, an alcoholic country singer, Jack Maine, accurately. Cooper didn’t want this film to be just any love story, but he wanted it to be the kind that others may relate to in the real world.

In the movie, Jack and Ally are two artists struggling with two different problems, but their lives intertwine during one night at a drag bar when Jack hears Ally sing. He falls in love with her voice, and later falls in love with her.

The film initially gained traction at the Venice Film Festival back in August. At the time, nobody was anticipating an Oscar nomination for best picture or best director. However, people seemed in awe with how Lady Gaga was portrayed. Gaga didn’t wear any makeup, and for some, it was like seeing her clearly for the first time.

About a month ago, the film was also shown at the Toronto Film Festival; there, it received even more praise than it did in Venice. This time, critics added notes about cinematographer Matthew Libatique, saying that having the film shot during different concert scenes and more intimate scenes between leads, gave the film more balance between exciting and realistic.

When we watch movies, we are expected to be watching a story that could never happen in real life. In recent days, directors and writers have be doing the opposite. More and more directors want to create authentic movies; they wish to tell common stories under a different light. “A Star Is Born” may tell a cliché love story, but it’s a story that gives hope and makes it seem almost real, which is apparent within the writing of the script.

Along with Cooper, Eric Roth and Will Fetters wrote a story that highlights the difficult relationship of two people coming from different worlds. Not only did they deliver a compelling story, but they delivered it without any sugar coating.

While the under the direction of Cooper, the cinematography and writing received high notes. But another key measure is something that Cooper is relatively new to: music. Gaga, along with country rock artist Lukas Nelson, composed a majority of the soundtrack. The song portrayed in the trailer in particular, “Shallow,” sung by Gaga and Cooper, is making moves for the best original song.

Even though the film has been getting Oscar buzz, Cooper wanted things done a certain way. There was no exception to that when finding who would play the lead role of Ally.

Lady Gaga is primarily known for her strong vocals and her unique style. When it came to cast who would be in this film, Cooper had faith in Gaga to take on this heavy role. It’s not surprising that his instincts were right.

Now, because of her performance in “A Star Is Born,” it has been rumored that Gaga could be getting her first Oscar nomination. Her last role was in “American Horror Story: Hotel,” for which she won a Golden Globe for best actress in a limited series. Gaga had always wanted to be an actress but the opportunity to sing just came along first.

I guess now is the time for Gaga.

The Hollywood Reporter anticipated that Cooper’s directorial debut film could cross $30 million in its opening weekend. Despite its good remarks during the fall film festivals, it’s expected to roll out slowly, as more of the public views the film, which may not be a bad thing. Not all good films perform well in the box office and if the film has excellent reviews, then the views will naturally come.

Typically films with an all-star cast and a new director tend to lack substance. But something about Cooper’s passion for film and extensive experience in not only acting, but also as producer, makes him worth it. For me, “A Star Is Born” shows promise. Not only with the good storyline, but also how that story is shown through the artistic elements of writing and cinematography.

Bradley Cooper seems to be on the right path as a director. If this is how much attention he’s getting for his first film, I can only imagine what the next one will be like.

“A Star is Born” released on Oct. 5, just in time for Oscar season. There is no doubt that audiences will feel connected with Jack and Ally and get immersed into their love story. Cooper makes it feel so authentic and raw that it doesn’t even seem like it’s being acted.

Now, more than ever, realistic movies are the new clichés. We’ve had our fair share of romantic comedies over the last two decades. It’s time for cinema to adapt to what audiences want: a way to relate to a film while also having a good story.

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