2019’s Cats – Universal Pictures’ overhyped adaptation of the 1981 stage musical – was a total washout, to say the least. And it was not due to lack of talent or experience – for it gathered quite an ensemble of stars – we are talking James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Francesca Hayward, and Tom Hooper himself who helmed 2012’s Award-winning Les Misérables.
There was not even a pandemic to discourage movie-goers from walking to the cinema. Cats was just destined to sink.
Peter Debruge of Variety called the film “one of those once-in-a-blue-moon embarrassments that mars the résumés of great actors (poor Idris Elba, already scarred enough as the villainous Macavity) and trips up the careers of promising newcomers (like ballerina Francesca Hayward, whose wide-eyed, mouth-agape Victoria displays one expression for the entire movie).”
Needless saying many hopes were dashed – even the dreams of the Johnny-come-latelies who looked out for a grand acting-debut on the musical fantasy flick. It made a few people question, if these musicals have not run their course, and up for mummification in the art museums.
But are the good old days of Sound of Music (1965), West Side Story (1961), and Grease (1978) really behind us?
Most definitely not. In the same 2019 list, Lion King’s remake made over 1.6 billion at the Box Office – notwithstanding critics’ panning of the same.
There is still space for pure, old-fashioned showbiz. It makes us all sing along, dance and feel good about life – despite all the modernism trying to take it away – and science fiction opining and trying to explain our new life – only to confuse us more.
For music and dance is just that – straight forward bliss. Here is a list of 20 of most riveting movie musicals in the last twenty years, aggregated from the critical reviews, cinema-goers and TV-watcher ratings.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets in this jukebox musical romantic drama film directed, co-produced, and co-written by Baz Luhrmann.
The film tells the story of a young English poet/writer, Christian (Ewan McGregor), who falls in love with the star of the Moulin Rouge, cabaret actress and courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman).
It uses the musical setting of the Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France. The film is the third part of Luhrmann’s “Red Curtain Trilogy,” following Strictly Ballroom and Romeo and Juliet.
The film premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival on 9 May – making it the festival’s opening title.
Moulin Rouge! received generally positive reviews from critics. The film holds a rating of 66/100 at Metacritic based on 35 reviews, and a 76% “Fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 199 reviews, and a 64% “Fresh” rating, based on 42 “top” reviewers, saying “A love-it-or-hate-it experience, Moulin Rouge is all style, all giddy, over-the-top spectacle. But it’s also daring in its vision and wildly original.” In December 2001, it was named the best film of the year by viewers of Film 2001.
Chicago is a musical black comedy crime film based on the 1975 stage musical of the same name. It explores the themes of celebrity, scandal, and corruption in Chicago during the Jazz Age.
The film stars Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere. Chicago centers on Roxie Hart (Zellweger) and Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) two murderesses who find themselves in jail together awaiting trial in 1920s Chicago.
Roxie, a housewife, and Velma, a vaudevillian, fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows. The film marked the theatrical directorial debut of Rob Marshall, who also choreographed the film, and was adapted by screenwriter Bill Condon, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an 86% approval rating, based on 256 reviews, with an average rating of 7.96/10. The website’s critical consensus states: “A rousing and energetic adaptation of the Broadway musical, Chicago succeeds on the level of pure spectacle, but provides a surprising level of depth and humor as well.”
On Metacritic, the film holds an average score of 82 out of 100, based on 39 critical reviews, indicating “universal acclaim.”
The cast received widespread acclaim for their performances. Tim Robey, writer for The Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom, labeled Chicago as “The best screen musical for 30 years.”
High School Musical (2006)
A popular high school athlete and an academically gifted girl get roles in the school musical and develop a friendship that threatens East High’s social order – thus goes the story.
High School Musical is an American musical television film written by Peter Barsocchini and directed by Kenny Ortega. It was the first installment in the High School Musical franchise.
With a plot described by the author and numerous critics as a modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, High School Musical is a story about two high school juniors from rival stereotypical cliques.
The protagonists are Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), a basketball team captain, and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), a shy transfer student excelling in math and science. Together, they try out for the lead parts in their high school musical, and this causes division among all the school’s students.
Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade “best-of” list, saying, “Call it children stuff. But HSM became a billion-dollar hit across screens big and small thanks to a love of song, dance, and happy endings.”
The original High School Musical sold 8 million DVD units, earning an operating income of $100 million. East High School was chosen as the Number 1 Top Five Best High Schools from Movies and TV by St. Petersburg Times.
Based on the original Broadway  production book by composer, Henry Krieger and lyricist, Tom Eyen, the musical drama film follows the story of a young female singing trio from Chicago, Illinois called “The Dreams”, who become music superstars in the early 1960s. But the girls are also facing their own personal struggles along the way.
It was adapted into a motion picture by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures in 2006. The film starred Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose, and Keith Robinson.
Dreamgirls received positive reviews from critics. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 78% rating based on 207 reviews, with an average rating of 7.24/10. The site’s consensus states: “Dreamgirls’ simple characters and plot hardly detract from the movie’s real feats: the electrifying performances and the dazzling musical numbers.”
Metacritic reports a 76 out of 100 rating, based on 37 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers gave the film three and a half stars (out of four) and the number-two position on his “best of 2006” list, stating that “despite transitional bumps, Condon does Dreamgirls proud”.
David Rooney of Variety reported that the film featured “tremendously exciting musical sequences” and that “after The Phantom of the Opera, Rent and The Producers botched the transfer from stage to screen, Dreamgirls gets it right.”
Many reviews, regardless of their overall opinion of the film, cited Hudson’s and Murphy’s performances as standouts, with Travers proclaiming Murphy’s performance of “Jimmy’s Rap” as “his finest screen moment.” Television host, Oprah Winfrey saw the film during a November 15 press screening, and telephoned Hudson on the Oprah episode airing the next day, praising her performance as “a religious experience” and “a transcendent performance”.
It was directed by Bill Condon.
Directed by Kevin Lima, Enchanted was about a young maiden in a land called Andalasia, who is prepared to be wed, is sent away to New York City by an evil Queen, where she falls in love with a lawyer.
It is a live action/animated musical fantasy romantic comedy film, produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Sonnenfeld Productions and Josephson Entertainment. It was written by Bill Kelly and it stars Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Timothy Spall, Idina Menzel, Rachel Covey, and Susan Sarandon.
The plot focuses on an archetypal Disney Princess, who is forced from her traditional animated world into the live-action world of New York City.
Enchanted was the first Disney film to be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, instead of Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.
It premiered on October 20, 2007, at the London Film Festival before its wide release on November 21, 2007, in the United States. It was well-received critically, and established Adams as a leading lady.
As of 2020, the movie review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes had tallied the film at an overall 93% approval rating based on 190 reviews with an average score of 7.33/10. The site’s critical consensus reads: “A smart re-imagining of fairy tale tropes that’s sure to delight children and adults, Enchanted features witty dialogue, sharp animation, and a star turn by Amy Adams.”
Metacritic gave it a rating of 75 out of 100 based on 32 reviews. Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film as the ninth best reviewed film in wide release of 2007 and named it the best family film of 2007.
Casual head shot of blue-eyed young woman with long reddish-blond hair pulled back.
Amy Adams received praise for her role as Giselle.
Positive reviews praised the film’s take on a classic Disney story, its comedy and musical numbers as well as the performance of its lead actress.
Hairspray is a musical romantic comedy film based on the 2002 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was based on John Waters’s 1988 comedy film of the same name. The film was a British-American venture produced by Ingenious Media and Zadan/Meron Productions.
Adapted from both Waters’s 1988 script and Thomas Meehan and Mark O’Donnell’s book for the stage musical by screenwriter Leslie Dixon, the film version of Hairspray was directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman and has an ensemble cast including John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley, Allison Janney, and Nikki Blonsky in her feature film debut.
The plot is of a pleasantly plump teenager Tracy Turnblad who teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.
Hairspray premiered on July 10, 2007 at the Mann Village Theater and was released on July 20, 2007 in the United Kingdom and the United States. The film was a critical and financial success.
Hairspray has garnered acclaim from film critics such as Roger Ebert, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe, as well as a smaller number of reviews comparing it unfavorably to the Waters original. The film is one of the top picks on Metacritic, with an average of 81 from 37 critics.
It scored a 91% “Certified Fresh” approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 220 reviews, also indicating excellent reviews, making it one of 2007’s best-reviewed films.
The site’s consensus states: “Hairspray is an energetic, wholly entertaining musical romp; a fun Summer movie with plenty of heart. Its contagious songs will make you want to get up and start dancing”.
Peter Rainer of The Christian Science Monitor named it the 4th best film of 2007. Lou Lumenick of the New York Post named it the ninth best film of 2007.
Once is a modern-day musical about a busker and an immigrant and their eventful week in Dublin, as they write, rehearse and record songs that tell their love story.
It is a romantic musical drama film written and directed by John Carney. The film stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová as two struggling musicians in Dublin, Ireland.
Hansard and Irglová had previously performed music as the Swell Season, and composed and performed the film’s original songs.
Once was met with extremely positive reviews from critics. Upon its March 2007 release in Ireland, RTÉ‘s Caroline Hennessy gave the film 4 out of 5 stars and termed it “an unexpected treasure”. About the acting, this Irish reviewer commented, “Once has wonderfully natural performances from the two leads. Although musicians first and actors second, they acquit themselves well in both areas.
Irglová, a largely unknown quantity alongside the well-known and either loved or loathed Hansard, is luminous.” Michael Dwyer of The Irish Times gave the film the same rating, calling it “irresistibly appealing” and noting that “Carney makes the point – without ever laboring it – that his protagonists are living in a changing city where the economic boom has passed them by. His keen eye for authentic locations is … evident”.
In May, on Ebert & Roeper, both Richard Roeper and guest critic Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave enthusiastic reviews. Phillips called it, “the most charming thing I’ve seen all year”, “the Brief Encounter for the 21st century”, his favorite music film since 1984’s Stop Making Sense and said, “It may well be the best music film of our generation”.
Roeper referred to the film’s recording studio scene as “more inspirational and uplifting than almost any number of Dreamgirls or Chicago or any of those multi-zillion dollar musical showstopping films.
In its own way, it will blow you away.” Once won very high marks from U.S. critics; it is rated 97% “fresh” from 157 critics by the film review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and scored a grade of 88 (“universal acclaim”) from 33 critics according to Metacritic.
Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (also known simply as Sweeney Todd) is a musical period slasher film directed by Tim Burton and an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Tony Award-winning 1979 musical of the same name.
The film re-tells the Victorian melodramatic tale of Sweeney Todd, an English barber and serial killer who murders his customers with a straight razor and, with the help of his accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, processes their corpses into meat pies. The film stars Johnny Depp as the title character and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was released in the United States on December 21, 2007 and in the United Kingdom on January 25, 2008. The film was praised for the performances of the cast, musical numbers, costume and set design, and its faithfulness to the 1979 musical.
Although Sondheim was cautious of a cinematic adaptation of his musical, he was largely impressed by the results. The film received critical acclaim, and the performances, visuals, production design, costume design and faithfulness to its source material were praised — the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 85% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 227 reviews and an average rating of 7.71/10.
The site’s critical consensus reads, “Full of pith and Grand Guignol grossness, this macabre musical is perfectly helmed and highly entertaining. Tim Burton masterfully stages the musical in a way that will make you think he has done this many times before.”
Metacritic gave the film an average score of 83 out of 100, based on 39 reviews, indicating “universal acclaim”. Sweeney Todd appeared on many critics’ top ten lists of the best films of 2007.
Of the reviewers, Time rated it an A-minus and added, “Burton and Depp infuse the brilliant cold steel of Stephen Sondheim’s score with a burning passion. Helena Bonham Carter and a superb supporting cast bring focused fury to this musical nightmare. It’s bloody great.”
Pitch Perfect (2012)
Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.
This musical comedy film was directed by Jason Moore and written by Kay Cannon. It features an ensemble cast, including Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Hana Mae Lee, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Wanetah Walmsley, Adam DeVine, Ben Platt, Utkarsh Ambudkar, John Michael Higgins, and Elizabeth Banks.
The film premiered in Los Angeles on September 24, 2012 and was released on September 28, 2012 in the United States. The film received positive reviews from critics and became a sleeper hit which indeed set pace for the sequels, Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) and Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) which equally were well received.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 80% based on 151 reviews, with an average rating of 6.39/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Pitch Perfect’s plot is formulaic, but the performances are excellent and the musical numbers are toe-tapping as well.”
Metacritic gives a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on reviews from 33 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of “A” on an A+ to F scale.
NPR‘s David Edelstein selected it as one of the top films of the year and Entertainment Weekly chose the soundtrack as one of the year’s best. Roger Ebert gave the film 2 stars out of 4, praising Rebel Wilson for her “ebullient, unstoppable and raucous” performance.
Les Miserables (2012)
Les Miserables is an epic historical period musical film directed by Tom Hooper and scripted by William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, who wrote the original French lyrics, Claude-Michel Schönberg, who wrote the music, and Herbert Kretzmer, who wrote the English lyrics, based on the 1862 French novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, which also inspired a 1980 musical by Boublil and Schönberg.
The film is a British and American venture distributed by Universal Pictures. It stars an ensemble cast led by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
The film is set in 19th-century France; Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker’s daughter. The decision changes their lives forever.
Les Misérables held its world premiere at Leicester Square in London on 5 December 2012, and was released 25 December 2012 in the United States and 11 January 2013 in the United Kingdom.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 69% approval rating with an average rating of 6.85/10, based on an aggregation of 246 reviews. The site’s consensus reads: “Impeccably mounted but occasionally bombastic, Les Misérables largely succeeds thanks to bravura performances from its distinguished cast.”
On Metacritic, the film achieved an average score of 63 out of 100 based on 41 reviews, signifying “generally favorable reviews”. The film was generally praised for its acting and ensemble cast, with Jackman, Hathaway, Redmayne, Seyfried and Barks being singled out for praise.
In Frozen, When the newly crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter, her sister Anna teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition.
It is a 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures.
It is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 fairy tale “The Snow Queen”.
Frozen underwent several story treatments before being commissioned in 2011, with a screenplay written by Jennifer Lee, who also co-directed with Chris Buck. The film features the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Santino Fontana. Christophe Beck was hired to compose the film’s orchestral score, while Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote the son
Frozen premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, on November 19, 2013, had a limited release on November 22 and went into general theatrical release on November 27. It was met with praise for its visuals, screenplay, themes, music, and voice acting; some film critics consider Frozen to be the best Disney animated feature film since the studio’s renaissance era.
Frozen opened to positive reviews, with several critics comparing it favorably to the films of the Disney Renaissance, particularly The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. Some journalists felt that the film’s success marked a second Disney Renaissance.
The film was praised for its visuals, themes, musical numbers, screenplay, and vocal performances, especially those of Bell, Menzel, and Gad. The “Let It Go” musical sequence was also particularly praised by critics.
The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 90% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 241 reviews, with an average rating of 7.69/10. The site’s critical consensus reads: “Beautifully animated, smartly written, and stocked with singalong songs, Frozen adds another worthy entry to the Disney canon.”
Metacritic, which determines a rating out of 100 from the reviews of mainstream critics, calculated a score of 74 based on 43 reviews, indicating “generally favorable reviews.” CinemaScore gave Frozen an “A+” on an A+ to F scale, based on polls conducted during the opening weekend.
Into the Woods (2014)
In this musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall, adapted to the screen by James Lapine from his and Stephen Sondheim’s 1986 Broadway musical of the same name, a witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
Into the Woods is a Walt Disney Pictures production; it features an ensemble cast that includes Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, MacKenzie Mauzy, Billy Magnussen and Johnny Depp.
It is inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales of “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Cinderella”, “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Rapunzel”.
Into the Woods held its world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City on December 8, 2014, and was released theatrically in the United States on December 25, 2014. The film was commercially successful and received generally positive reviews, receiving praise for its acting performances (particularly Streep), visual style, production merits, and musical numbers.
The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 71% based on 220 reviews, with an average rating of 6.55/10.
The site’s consensus reads: “On the whole, this Disney adaptation of the Sondheim classic sits comfortably at the corner of Hollywood and Broadway—even if it darkens to its detriment in the final act.”
Another review aggregator, Metacritic, calculate a weighted average score of 69 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.
In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, audiences gave the film an average grade of “B” on an A+ to F scale.
Streep was immensely applauded for her performance as the Witch, with many critics and audiences believing she was the film’s heart.
La La Land (2016)
La La Land is a romantic comedy musical film written and directed by Damien Chazelle. It stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist and Emma Stone as an aspiring actress, who meet in Los Angeles.
While pursuing their dreams in the big city, the pianist and the actress fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.
John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, and J. K. Simmons also star.
Five years after Chazelle wrote the script, Summit Entertainment and Black Label Media, along with producer Marc Platt, agreed to invest in La La Land and distribute it.
Filming took place in Los Angeles from August to September 2015, with the film’s score composed by Hurwitz and the dance choreography by Mandy Moore. La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle, premiered at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 9, 2016.
Critics praised the film’s screenplay, direction, acting, score, and the chemistry of Gosling and Stone.
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 91% based on 443 reviews, with an average rating of 8.63/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “La La Land breathes new life into a bygone genre with thrillingly assured direction, powerful performances, and an irresistible excess of heart.”
On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 94 out of 100, based on 54 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”. It was the third- and sixth-highest scoring film released in 2016 on each respective site.
Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A–” on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported audiences gave an 81% overall positive score and a 93% “definite recommend”.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave La La Land four stars out of four, describing it as “a hot miracle” and complimenting its musical numbers, particularly the opening scene. He went on to name it his favorite movie of the year.
Mamma Mia (2018)
Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical romantic comedy film directed by Phyllida Lloyd and written by Catherine Johnson based on the 1999 musical of the same name, also written by Johnson, which itself is based on the songs of pop group ABBA, including the title song, with additional music composed by ABBA member, Benny Andersson.
The story follows a young bride-to-be who invites three men to her upcoming wedding, each one with the possibility of being her father.
Meanwhile in the sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, it is five years after the events of Mamma Mia!, Sophie prepares for the grand reopening of the Hotel Bella Donna as she learns more about her mother’s past.
Both films feature such an ensemble cast, including Dominic Cooper, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Jeremy Irvine, Josh Dylan, Hugh Skinner, Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Andy García, Meryl Streep, and Cher.
Both a prequel and a sequel, the plot is set after the events of the previous film, and also features flashbacks to 1979, telling the story of Donna Sheridan’s arrival on the island of Kalokairi and her first meetings with her daughter Sophie’s three possible fathers.
Due to the financial success of the first film, Universal Pictures had long been interested in a sequel. The film was officially announced in May 2017, with Parker hired to write and direct.
Filming took place from August to December 2017 in Croatia, Bordeaux, Stockholm, Oxford, Hampton and at Shepperton Studios. A British and American joint venture, the film was co-produced by Playtone, Littlestar Productions and Legendary Entertainment.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was premiered at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on July 16, 2018, and was released in the United Kingdom and the United States on July 20, 2018, ten years to the week after its predecessor’s release
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 79% based on 270 reviews, and a weighted average of 6.31/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again doubles down on just about everything fans loved about the original—and my, how can fans resist it?”
On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100 based on 46 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.
Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A–” on an A+ to F scale, the same score as its predecessor, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 83% overall positive score.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian termed the sequel as “weirdly irresistible” and gave it three out of five stars.
A Star Is Born (2018)
A Star Is Born is an American romantic musical drama film produced and directed by Bradley Cooper (in his directorial debut) and written by Cooper, Eric Roth and Will Fetters. It stars Cooper, Lady Gaga, Dave Chappelle, Andrew Dice Clay, and Sam Elliott, and follows a hard-drinking musician (Cooper) who discovers and falls in love with a young singer (Gaga).
Cooper’s character helps the young singer find fame as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
It is the third remake of the original 1937 film, after the 1954 musical and the 1976 musical.
A Star Is Born premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2018, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 5, 2018, by Warner Bros. It was a critical and commercial success.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, A Star Is Born holds an approval rating of 90% based on 504 reviews, with an average rating of 8.04/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “With appealing leads, deft direction, and an affecting love story, A Star Is Born is a remake done right—and a reminder that some stories can be just as effective in the retelling.”
On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 88 out of 100, based on 60 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.
Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “A” on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported film-goers gave it a 90% positive score.
Alonso Duralde of TheWrap gave the film a positive review, saying, “Cooper and Lady Gaga are dynamite together; this is a story that lives and dies by the central relationship and the instant chemistry that must blossom between them, and these two have it in spades,” and praised the musical numbers, describing them as “electrifying”.