The reviews are in for Lady Gaga’s new movie A Star Is Born, and critics are calling her a “revelation”.
It’s the first big screen role for the pop star, who’s previously taken the lead in hit anthology TV series American Horror Story, and while the movie as a whole package may be dividing critics, they’re united in their praise for Gaga’s performance.
Leading the pack of five star reviews is The Guardian, with critic Peter Bradshaw describing the remake as “outrageously watchable” and “colossally enjoyable” among his showering of positivity.
“Cooper is arguably prettier than Lady Gaga, but she is the one who commands your attention: that sharp, quizzical, leonine, mesmeric face – an uningratiating face, very different from the wide-eyed openness of Streisand or Garland,” he writes. “Her songs are gorgeous and the ingenuous openness of her scenes with Jackson are wonderfully sympathetic.”
A Star Is Born, the fourth version to hit the big screen since the 1937 original, follows seasoned musician Jackson Maine as he discovers struggling artist Ally Rose and nurtures her into a star as his own spotlight continues to fade.
“Gaga, in an ebullient and winningly direct performance, never lets her own star quality get in the way of the character,” Owen writes. “Or, rather, she lets us see that star quality is something that lives inside Ally but is still waiting to come out.”
TIME’s Stephanie Zacharek was equally praise-worthy of Gaga’s performance, addressing the one question that many cinema-goers will be asking when they go to see the film: Can she really act?
“It’s a ridiculous question,” they write. “Singers often make fabulous actors. They’re primed for it: All singing is acting. But what’s surprising about Gaga is how charismatic she is without her usual extreme stage makeup, outlandish wigs and inventive costumes.”
Joshua Rothkopf from Time Out labels Gaga a “revelation”, and describes her performance as “a hot French kiss (with full-on tongue), filled with passion, tears and a staggering amount of chutzpah”.
“Gaga is really acting here: shy, somehow smaller, trembling with excitement,” they say. “Incrementally, she blooms in the spotlight, proudly waving around that Streisand schnozz, the big voice completing the transformation. She’s extraordinary, and you root for her to go supernova per the scenario’s time-honored trajectory.”
Other critics haven’t been quite as generous, however, with The Independent labelling it “an unnecessary remake” in their three-star review, and the BBC echoing those thoughts with the line: “It’s hard to see what prompted this re-re-remake.”
You can make your own minds up when A Star Is Born is released in UK and US cinemas on 5 October.