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TIFF 2018: Going Gaga Over a Born-again 'Star'

George Prentice Sep 7, 2018 10:45 AM
Warner Bros.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born.
There are more than a million homes in Toronto, but it's not out of the question that when A Star is Born debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, Sept. 9, the force of nature that is Lady Gaga will light up every one of them.

This newest iteration of A Star is Born (it's the third remake since the 1937 original) is much more than the rumors make it out to be. It's one of the few blockbusters that over-delivers the promise of a great promotional trailer (see below). In fact, during an early-morning advanced press screening of A Star is Born,  I was surprised that the big screen didn't ignite during several blow-your-mind musical performances from Gaga and co-star Bradley Cooper (Who knew that he had such a great voice?).

Warner Bros.
By now, most of us are familiar with A Star is Born's  three-act Cinderella drama, which has showcased  Janet Gaynor (1937), Judy Garland (1954) and Barbra Streisand (1976). But if anyone was born to perform the lead role, it was Gaga—it's as if this story was always waiting for her. And she doesn't merely step into the role: It infests her like a fever. In the first 15 minutes, she sings a cover of the classic Edith Piaf anthem "La Vie en Rose" that banishes dry eyes from the audience.  Within an hour, she belts out the sure-to-be hit "Shallow," which she co-wrote, and hearts melts. In the finale, she pours out "I'll Never Love Again," another co-written track. By the end of it all, you're sure to be a blubbering mess.


Cooper also directed, produced and co-wrote the film. All of that, plus the ability to deliver his own impressive performance, means Cooper joins a very rare list of quadruple-threat talent. And Gaga and Cooper's co-stars are all top-drawer: Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle and, get this, Andrew Dice Clay (perhaps the most provocative stand-up comedian of the 1980s) as Gaga's father. Even Alec Baldwin pops in for a cameo.

But A Star is Born is really all about Gaga. Go ahead and bet the farm on her taking home the Best Actress Oscar. Plus, the Motion Picture Academy will undoubtedly add a few more trophies, including Best Original Score and Best Song (good luck picking just one).

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