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Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper star in “A Star is Born.” | Courtesy Hit Channel (hit-channel.com)

“I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in, I’ll never meet the ground,” sings Lady Gaga on stage with Bradley Cooper in the new film “A Star is Born”. It’s the song that intro­duces Gaga and Cooper’s on-screen rela­tionship and the film. It’s an invi­tation. Fall into the world of Ally and Jackson Main, their love and their music. 

The film follows Ally, played by Gaga, an aspiring singer/songwriter who has all but given up on stardom before she meets washed-up country star Jackson Main, played by Bradley Cooper. Main helps Ally realize her full potential, coaxing her into the spot­light and taking her on tour with him. The two fall in love, but as Ally’s career takes off, their per­sonal rela­tionship begins to dete­ri­orate. This is due, in part, to Main’s alcohol and drug addiction. 

Gaga plays Ally with a pal­pable authen­ticity. Her per­for­mances are raw and emo­tional. We first get a glimpse of Ally’s talent when she takes the trash out at work and waltzes through the alleyway singing “Some­where Over the Rainbow.”  A few bars of the song in, and it’s apparent that Ally has some­thing special. A few scenes later, Ally belts “La Vie En Rose.” It’s enchanting and awe-inspiring. 

Gaga’s talent as a vocalist is no secret, but it’s her acting chops that truly impress. When Ally per­forms in front of a crowd of thou­sands for the first time, she’s anxious and afraid. Gaga, a sea­soned musician who plays sold-out arenas, por­trays Ally’s timid con­fusion with an expertise striking for someone making their silver screen debut. 

Much of Ally’s char­acter is based on Gaga’s own rise to fame. Cooper, who also directs the film, spent hours inter­viewing Gaga about her expe­ri­ences in the music industry. She spent the early days of her career singing in drag bars on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. When Jack and Ally meet for the first time, Ally is singing in a drag bar that Jack has stumbled into just looking for a drink.The nod to Gaga’s own life gives the film a more pro­found per­sonal element. 

While Gaga blossoms on screen, Cooper’s Jackson Main slowly suc­cumbs to addiction as the film pro­gresses. The only thing keeping him from self-destructing is Ally. Jack’s addiction is thor­oughly explored. He tries to beat it, falls back into it, embarasses himself because of it. Cooper brings the tragedy of addiction to heart­breaking attention with his por­trayal of Jack. Jack is a broken but loveable man, and Cooper finds the sweet spot in Jack’s char­acter to bring him to life. 

Under­lying the gripping rela­tionship is the film’s sound­track, co-written by Gaga and Cooper. Much of Ally and Jack’s story is told through song. The melodies are catchy, the lyrics unique, and the vocals pow­erful. The live per­for­mances bring authen­ticity to the film. Gaga and Cooper sing every track, because this film is about Ally and Jackson Main. The film’s main focus is Ally and Jack, their music, and their rela­tionship, and the sound­track reit­erates this. 

“A Star is Born” offers an intimacy between the couple and the audience, drawing them effec­tively into the film. As the story unfolds, Jack and Ally come to life on-screen and we fall in love with the Mains. You laugh with them, you cry with them, but, ulti­mately, your heart breaks for them.