The evolution of Lady Gaga
It’s been a few weeks now, and we’ve been submerged in the Bohemian Rhapsody tsunami since, but that film picked up where another music-infused smash left off — A star is born. Obviously, these are rather different projects: while Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic on the real Queen and Freddie Mercury story, A star is born is a fictional tale, told several times before, of the encounter between the ageing star and the new one. A good time for music in film, I’ll say.
There are other obvious differences between both films: The A star is born score is composed of original work, written by the stars themselves — Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — with the help of Lukas Nelson, son of country icon Willie Nelson (while Queen music has been on everybody’s lips since the mid-70’s). Bradley Cooper also famously directed and co-wrote the movie, making him the central piece in the project without it feeling too obviously like a personal endeavour, while Lady Gaga is of course one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. Which makes for an interesting combo: a noted actor-turned director casting a music superstar in her first major role. A lot of firsts — not to mention a rare Dave Chappelle appearance in fairly dramatic fare — resulting in a risky, yet ultimately successful bet: the end product is a rather beautiful ode to music told through the lens of pain, pleasure and everything that goes in between (pain is close to pleasure, as the poet said…).
What is most striking, though, is Lady Gaga’s breakout performance. We all knew she could sing (duh…) and we’ve all seen some of her theatrics on and off the stage, often clothing-related, but it is something else to see her starring on the big screen in such a powerful manner. In ways, she comes out as even more realistic as the story progresses and her character starts becoming a star, because she so obviously has the qualities of one: the incredible presence, intensity and, in a word, charisma that will inevitably attract all of your attention. While certain elements in the story and therefore in character development may be lacking at times — you do not always get to feel the inner turmoil of an artist stuck between creative integrity and commercial success (otherwise known as the age-old question) — you can still feel her individuality coming at you in every frame.
Whatever she chooses to do next, it is now a proven fact that Lady Gaga’s artistic abilities can readily translate into movies, and probably more. And let us not forget that we have to thank Queen for that: after all, the Lady Gaga name is a direct nod to the band’s classic track “Radio Gaga”… talk about full circle.
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