I don’t know what else to say in terms of preamble because I’m exhausted so let’s get to it!
A STAR IS BORN: As a resident Bradley Cooper hater I did not know what to expect from this movie. Knowing that it was the fourth in a several decades long remake cycle made me even less enthusiastic. But even I know when I’ve been bested. A Star Is Born is FANTASTIC. It is absolutely stellar, with a gorgeous soundtrack and wonderful story. Lady Gaga is sublime in a way I did know she was capable of. After her role on AHS: Hotel, I was not confident that she could carry and entire movie, but it turns out that this was the exact right role for her. She effectively transforms into the reluctant star who gains the world and loses her love. Bradley is the best he’s been in years, and smartly lets Gaga do most of the work to carry the film. His character’s struggles with alcohol addiction and emotional issues are played exactly right. This movie is going to sweep the Oscars.
THE HATE U GIVE: Having read the novel earlier this year, I was interested to see how this film adaptation would play out. After the controversy of Amandla’s casting and her ill-advised turn in Where Hands Touch I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I think that this is the better of the two films she had premiering at TIFF, even if it was a little elementary in its scope. Given that the intended audience is teens and tweens I think its simplistic take on Black Lives Matter and police shootings is understandable, and I think it tackles the topic in a way that kids that young will be able to process and discuss. Kids these days are dealing with a lot and this movie deals with a heavy issue they can’t escape in a way that is manageable and meets them where they are. It will probably be screened in high schools for Black History Month for the next decade.
*Header photo courtesy TIFF