Are they really in love, or is it all an act? Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sure made us believe not only on Sunday night, but in their movie, A Star Is Born. Watch it and tell me I’m wrong.
Since the first movie I ever watched concluded many, many years ago, I’ve battled with an idea in my head. How real is the stuff on the screen? Is there a shred of realism included in real people saying fake things in a made-up world on a set which will appear on a large screen? When it comes to romance in film, I’ve battled harder and longer over this conundrum.
33 years later, I still don’t have it figured out, and for good reason. The movies aren’t supposed to give us all the answers, yet make us believe in the impossible and the magical. If you want to imagine about the what-if’s, turn on your favorite film and see how it makes you feel.
You see, at their highest altitude of cinema glory, movies are pure escapism. True story or fictional love tale, they aim to make us forget, fall in love, and create mythical ideas in our heads that last longer after the credits end and the lights come up.
On Wednesday night, Lady Gaga went on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show, and told the world that the look, feeling, and emotion between her and Cooper wasn’t fake, but it also wasn’t the backbone of a real life romance. The two maestros created that feeling in our souls due to the level of talent they hold, and an ability to make it durable. For the span of a two hour movie about a doomed romance and for three minutes on a stage at the Dolby Theater at the Oscars just short of four months later, we were sucked into this ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-romance. All the way. Hook, line, and sinker.
I fell hard. How many times have I watched the film? Five times, with several individual scenes viewed up to ten times. The first conversation in the cop bar. The grocery store parking lot demo reel. The way Gaga and Cooper stared not only at each other’s eyes, but far into their respective souls, eclipsed what movie stars are commonly capable of. Usually, you watch a flick and digest it, and then drop it off days, or possibly weeks, later.
The way Gaga and Cooper, as Ally and Jackson, looked at each other in A Star Is Born, was the difference for. There was something else there. They made you believe. As she told Kimmel and his audience, they did a good job of fooling us. Shouldn’t an actor’s chief job be to fool the audience into thinking they are that particular person? Gaga and Cooper fooled us into thinking they were Ally and Jackson, and that they were madly in love.
This is why we can’t get over ourselves with the luscious look she gave her co-star and director on Sunday night. As they finished off the final lyric, slowly singing “into the shallow, into the sha-la-low,” we were all hooked on a feeling. THEY. HAD. TO. BE. TOGETHER.
No, they aren’t, and it’s okay. Hearing Gaga state it with feeling (she seems to not mince words and I love that about her) started the transformation, but remembering the power of movies sealed the thought in my head. This was the best kind of acting, the brand that includes full immersion. It was two people dedicating themselves completely and always to these characters over the course of years that made it work.
Believing Lady Gaga and Cooper are in love is similar to thinking poor Leonardo DiCaprio really did freeze to death in the ocean next to the sunken Titanic. It’s the reason we thought Gary Oldman really was Winston Churchill or Julia Roberts was Erin Brokovich.
Sometimes, true love does blossom on a film set. Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in The Notebook to name one notable occurrence. Most of the time, it just doesn’t happen … or last.
What does last is the movie, and A Star Is Born should play extremely well for years. You can slip on these pajamas in 10-15 years and be sucked back into thinking the two leads are a couple in real life. That is how the movies work. They make us believe in many things, true love among them.
It is why I love them more than sports. They give back more on a daily basis, and can be consumed over and over again without heartbreak. It’s escapism at its finest.
Just relax, get off social media, and watch the movie again. Get swept up in the looks, the music, and the atmosphere that Cooper (who was snubbed terribly for his directing) created. It’ll do a number on you. Make you think about love, addiction, depression, and how life throws them all into a blender to see what comes out the other end.
At their best, movies make you feel good. Thanks Gaga and Cooper for achieving just that, creating something that will endure and stand the test of time.
All I need is for you to sing a song together at every Oscars show.