I hear the sound of applause and I feel my heart pump inside my chest with adrenaline. I usually get this feeling right before a huge concert by my favorite singer begins.
This time, the concert is not one by Lady Gaga, but by country musician star Jackson Maine, played by Bradley Cooper in smash film A Star is Born.
Cooper’s character is a musician who develops tinnitus. He suffers a from high-frequency hearing loss. The film taught me: anything is possible.
His rocking growl voice accompanied by a pulsing drum beat lassoes in the audience.
It is an indescribable essence one will feel when you first hear Stefani Germanotta speak:
You’re a great lawyer.
We’re just not meant to be together.
No, I don’t wanna marry you!
Are you crazy?
The hell’s the matter with you?
Roger, we’re done.
Ms. Germanotta gives her audience a heart-filled scream of frustration; an honest expression of her frustration with men. I feel extra connected to Lady Gaga’s performance in A Star is Born. I went to the Frank Sinatra School, which was founded by Tony Bennett and I studied acting.
Ms. Germanotta‘s character sings us a French serenade filled with advice, and delivers her song like a well-seasoned performer. Ally dances a figure eight around hanging lights and sings glissando. I love how Ally swims her rose up and over her head when she lays across the bar, similar to how La Vi En Rose ends. After singing, Mr. Jackson meets Ally backstage, and when Mr. Maine peels off Ally’s eyebrow, it is as intimate as two lovers undressing each other.
There is also a significant moment in the kitchen; Ally enters and asks “What the hell happened in here?” to which her father replies:
I knew a couple of guy could sing Sinatra under the table. But Frank, he’d come on stage with the blue eyes, the sharkskin suit, the patent leather shoes…he becomes Frank Sinatra. And everybody else, all these other guys…that really got it, that really have it inside…just a bunch of nobodies.
There is a craft to acting in a kitchen and I admired Stefani Germanotta’s physicality in this scene. Her character then accuses her father of having a disease of celebrityism, but I don’t particularly blame her father’s enthusiasm. I have had met the pleasure of meeting Tony Bennett in Frank Sinatra. Having met one of the greatest stars, I know the special quality that stars have. Ally whimsically looks out the window, perhaps looking for her long lost day dream.
“Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us. We are far from the shallow now.”
Ally and Jackson Maine’s song. The shallow is perhaps a place in our pool of thoughts. It is no coincidence that Jackson Maine uses swimming during his time in alcoholic recovery camp. I was moved by the athletic shots of Bradley Cooper swimming freestyle. The shallow, the least deep part of the pool, yet potential for the most damage. Physically, spiritually, breaking the top surface of water can be most satisfying yet terrifying. The song encourages me to keep swimming, keep moving forward.
You float out at sea, and then one day, you find a port. Say, ‘I’m gonna stay here for a few days.’ A few days becomes a few years. And then you forgot where you were going in the first place. And then you realize, you don’t really give a shit about where you were going… ’cause you like where you’re at.
This moment gives us time to catch our breath, with Jackson, in A Star is Born. I love the idea of cleaning the slate, starting from scratch. Ally learns this before Jackson is in her life, and after.