**Free of major spoilers until otherwise noted, for those who aren’t yet familiar with the story!**
When you go into seeing A Star Is Born, one thing is always clear: You’re in for great music and a broken heart. When it comes to the 2018 version of the film, making you actually care about leading man Jackson Maine is one of the best creative decisions Bradley Cooper made, but it also meant the audience was going to end up destroyed. Going in, many are already aware of the outcome—whether it be the Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, or Barbra Streisand version, being subjected to some version of A Star Is Born is part of the cultural zeitgeist.
For me personally, my first foray into Barbra Streisand fandom was my mother showing me her version of the movie and main character Esther Hoffman. Going into the 2018 rendition, where Stefani Germanotta (because while she is billed as Lady Gaga, this was not a version of Gaga we’ve ever seen before) brings Ally to life, we’re reminded of how powerful a love story can be.
With every new incarnation of these two lovers, we care most about the woman. Ally worked in the food service industry, being told time and time again that she wasn’t going to make it in the music industry because of the way she looked. When alcoholic Jackson Maine needs another drink, he stumbles into a drag bar that Ally performs in, because the drag queens love to hear her sing.
Enamored by her voice, Jackson starts a whirlwind relationship with Ally that has her constantly asking herself what is even happening, which is honestly the most relatable part of the movie. They are awkward, constantly trying to get approval from each other, and just in complete shock that this relationship is working out for them.
The problem with every version of the leading man in the story is that he’s an alcoholic who won’t seek help, and it’s derailing his career, and Bradley Cooper’s is no different. When Ally meets him, she already knows that he’s an alcoholic and even uses that fact to throw it back at her father.
So while the beginning of their relationship is a blissed out dream for Ally, it almost seems too idyllic, and both Ally and Jackson continually say that to one another. But even at their worst, the point is that Ally’s weakness is her love for Jackson.
What Bradley Cooper gets with his A Star Is Born is that these two love each other to a fault.
At the end of the day, Ally will willingly give up aspects of her career for him, and Jackson loves her too much to stop her, but what gets him is distrust in himself. The movie makes us care about what happens to both Ally and Jackson because their love is actually truthful. Sure, we believed that Barbra was in love with Kris Kristofferson, but the same can’t be said for Kris’s character.
Really, the movie is worth it enough to see Lady Gaga screaming, “FUCKING MEN,” in a bathroom before singing La Vie En Rose at a drag show—that, and you might want to see the movie that is going to win Bradley Cooper multiple Oscars.
**Spoilers from this point on!**
Obviously though, as the second act of the film wraps with the two getting married, we, as the audiences, are clued in to the fact that something isn’t going to go well.
Jackson’s alcoholism continues to worsen and comes to a head when he’s forced to be the guitar player, rather than the main act, at a Grammys performance, and he gets high and drunk, embarrassing himself as well as his wife. Act three is basically set around the fact that their marriage isn’t all about how much Jackson and Ally love each other.
“You’re my boyfriend if you don’t treat me like your wife,” Ally yells at Jackson as she kicks him out of their home because Jackson drunkenly tells her she isn’t beautiful and that she’s untalented. Throughout the end of the film, it’s clear that no matter how much help Jackson gets, he will always second guess the importance he should have in Ally’s life, and ultimately, he meets the same fate as all the renditions of Jackson Maine before him.
Get your tissues ready.
(images: Warner Bros.)
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com