‘A Star is Born’ reviews: Lady Gaga’s performance ‘dazzles’ in Bradley Cooper’s ‘astonishing’ directing debut

A Star is Born” indeed. The movie musical opened on October 5, and though both of its leads are well-established stars, this film brings them into the spotlight in new ways. Bradley Cooper, known as a three-time Oscar nominated actor (plus one nom as a producer), here tries his hand at singing and directing. And Lady Gaga, a six-time Grammy winning pop star, is aiming to establish herself as an actor. Judging by the reviews, both have succeeded.

As of this writing the film as a MetaCritic score of 88 based on 56 reviews from some of the nation’s top critics. And its Rotten Tomatoes freshness rating is 93% based on 194 reviews. The Tomatometer consensus says that “with appealing leads, deft direction, and an affecting love story, ‘A Star Is Born‘ is a remake done right — and a reminder that some stories can be just as effective in the retelling.”

Cooper stars as an alcoholic musician whose career is on the wane, but it’s his direction that has especially impressed reviewers. His work behind the camera is being described as “assured, artful and emotionally authentic,” and “astonishing” for a directorial debut. Gaga, meanwhile, ‘dazzles’ with her “disarming” and “naturalistic” performance; her “charisma can barely be contained by the biggest movie screen.”

Do these positive notices make you eager to see the film? Do you think it’s headed for Oscars? Check out some of the reviews below, and discuss this film and more with your fellow movie fans in our forums.

Katie Walsh (Chicago Tribune): “[Cooper’s] film is frankly startling in how assured, artful and emotionally authentic it is. This is finely-tuned precision filmmaking, genuine artistry on display in a huge, prestige studio movie. It’s a blockbuster romance that looks and feels like an indie film, all in service of an expression of pure love.”

Dana Stevens (Slate): “The astonishment comes in part from the fact that such an assured piece of filmmaking represents Cooper’s directorial debut … But at a more primal level, it’s Gaga who dazzles. Taking on a role best known for Judy Garland’s incandescently great performance in the 1954 version (also directed by Cukor), she proves herself worthy of those famous ruby-red slippers — or, rather, crafts herself a whole new pair of shoes from some hitherto unknown but fabulously sparkly material.”

Manohla Dargis (New York Times): “Mr. Cooper, who also directed, does a lot right in this take on ‘A Star Is Born,’ beginning with the casting of Lady Gaga, whose disarming, naturalistic presence is crucial to the movie’s force. A post-Madonna pop artist known for her elaborate stagecraft and costumes, she has been stripped down here, her mask removed.”

Moira Macdonald (Seattle Times): “‘A Star Is Born,’ however, lives and dies with its central couple, and Cooper and Gaga show the kind of chemistry that invests us instantly in this pairing … And Gaga, whose charisma can barely be contained by the biggest movie screen, makes Ally sweet and tough and big-dreaming.”

Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.

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