Warner Bros. has finally pulled back the curtain on Bradley Cooper’s highly anticipated directorial debut “A Star Is Born,” and the first reviews out of the Venice Film Festival are enthusiastically positive. Cooper directs himself and Lady Gaga in the third adaptation of the classic love story, which centers around two musicians navigating stardom and their blossoming relationship.
While film critics are sharing raves for Cooper’s grounded direction, which immerses the viewers on stage with his characters, Lady Gaga is by far and away earning breakout acclaim for her film debut. Prior to “A Star Is Born,” Gaga had a lead role on FX’s television series “American Horror Story: Hotel,” for which she won a Golden Globe, and appeared in a cameo role in Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills.” Even more straightforward reviews single out Gaga as the film’s most valuable component.
“The pop star is resplendent as a diamond-in-the-rough singer,” IndieWire’s Michael Nordine writes of Gaga in his review. “Her magnetism draws you into the world…she instantly makes you believe in her Ally as a no-name talent despite already being one of the most successful singers on the planet.”
“Even with everything Gaga’s already done, ‘A Star Is Born’ feels like a coming-out party for her,” Nordine continues. “Cooper is a co-lead but, in much the same way that his Jackson Maine takes Ally on tour and facilitates her burgeoning superstardom, it often feels like his onscreen goal is to play second fiddle and help us see that, as both an actress and a singer, his co-star is a singular talent.”
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw writes in his five-star review that “A Star Is Born” is”outrageously watchable” with Gaga as its “mesmerizing” center. “Her ability to be part ordinary person, part extraterrestrial celebrity empress functions at the highest level at all times,” he writes.
“Believe the pre-premiere hype: Lady Gaga is nothing short of extraordinary,” raves The Film Stage’s Leonardo Goi. “‘A Star is Born’ showcases oodles of Gaga’s preternatural musical talent, but also confirms–if there was ever a need to prove it–her magnetic stage presence…The real surprise here is not Cooper, but Gaga. More than a newly born star, hers never stops growing.”
More strong notices for Gaga’s debut can be found in Variety (“a fetching and accomplished movie-star debut, ebullient and winningly direct”), Entertainment Weekly (“she deserves praise for her restrained, human-scale performance”), Little White Lies (“a captivating performance’), and Telegraph (“Lady Gaga electrifies in a Hollywood musical for the ages”).
Warner Bros. will release “A Star Is Born” nationwide October 5.