Over the next week, The Atlantic’s “And, Scene” series will delve into some of the most interesting films of the year by examining a single, noteworthy cinematic moment from 2018. Next up is Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born. (Read our previous entries here.)
By the time Ally (played by Lady Gaga) and Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) are sitting together in an empty parking lot in the middle of the night, they’ve already been through an odyssey. Jackson, a famous musician, crossed paths with Ally when she performed “La Vie en Rose” at a local watering hole. Enchanted by her charismatic stage presence, he takes her to another bar, interrogates her about her passions, and then, after she starts a fight with a drunken patron and hurts her hand, whisks her away to a supermarket to get a field dressing of frozen peas and gauze. All this happens within the first 30 minutes of A Star Is Born.
During this whirlwind meet-cute, Ally opens up about her thwarted efforts as a songwriter and her insecurity about her prominent nose. “Everybody’s talented … but having something to say, and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that’s a whole other bag,” Jackson tells her, as Ally looks on with a mixture of interest and incredulity. But it’s only when they’re sitting side by side on a concrete curb, with Ally nursing her hand, that Jackson starts to open up in return.