Lady Gaga’s ‘A Star is Born’

Naomi Fry at The New Yorker:

If it sounds as if the movie’s depiction of authenticity, especially in the case of Gaga, is somehow blinkered, this isn’t the case. “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” in its focus on its subject’s usually concealed struggles, willfully disregarded the showiness inherent even in her most private actions. “A Star Is Born,” however, is able to accommodate exactly this doubleness. Cooper’s movie presents itself as the greatest love story ever told. It’s an emotional blockbuster, visually grand, and, within the logic of its world, meaningful gestures undertaken by larger-than-life characters—a single tear trailing down Ally’s face, Maines’s finger tracing the outline of her strong nose, Ally cupping Maines’s cheek—take on a duality that Gaga’s skills are exactly made for. She is both the dressed-down girl next door and the mythical superstar, and her ability to nimbly straddle these two poles is what makes her performance great. What came across in the documentary as an uncomfortable mix produces a satisfying combination in an outsized epos like this one, the two impulses tempering and complementing each other.

more here.