It’s yet another remake of “A Star Is Born,” but what a remake it is. The first act of Bradley Cooper’s directing debut unveils one of the great romances in Hollywood film history. As good as Gable and Colbert in “It Happened One Night,” Tracy and Hepburn in “Woman of the Year,” Bogart and Bacall in “To Have and Have Not,” or Burton and Taylor in “Cleopatra.” Cooper (Jackson Maine) and Lady Gaga (Ally) don’t have the filmic history of these screen couples, but they do have chemistry.
And you don’t have to wade through separations and squabbles to get there; it’s all up front and instant, sensitive and hot. But there’s a cost. If the first act brings tears of joy, it’s clear that the second will find the lovers unearthing problems and pulling apart, and that’s what happens here.
Plots with this arc often produce a third act in which the protagonists rediscover common ground and rekindle the romance. In this case, things only get worse, until, in an excessively maudlin penultimate scene, a dog whimpers outside a garage.
Go for the first act.