At last, film and musical junkies can stop refreshing the trailer for Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born remake (we see you, 11 million YouTube views). The real thing just hit theaters, and yes, it’s as good as critics upon critics — upon critics! — have claimed.
If you have even a passing interest in pop culture, you’ll know that the classic love story follows Cooper as Jackson (or Jack) Maine, a weathered rock star who discovers struggling singer Ally, played by Gaga, in a drag bar. Maine takes Ally under his wing — and falls in love with her, but tension ensues as her star ascends above his own. Now in its fourth iteration, the musical is a remake (Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, 1976) of a remake (Judy Garland and James Mason, 1954) of the 1937 original (Janet Gaynor and Fredric March). It’s Gaga’s first leading role in a major motion picture, and Cooper’s directorial debut. In other words, it’s kind of a big deal.
Didn’t make it to opening night? You’ve come to the right place — as long as you don’t mind some (warning!) serious spoilers. Below, our 10 favorite moments from the Oscars contender, ranked from good to best.
10. Breakfast In Bed
We already knew that Gaga has a thing for bacon. Thankfully, Jack provides, ordering up an enormous breakfast spread — eggs, fresh OJ, pancakes with whipped cream — to their hotel room after spending their first night together on one of his tour stops. Cozied up in a fluffy robe, Ally nibbles on a bacon strip as Jack tells her an embarrassing childhood story. Then, he scoops her up under his arms and carries her back into bed while mumbling something about French toast. The adorable scene is *almost* enough to make us forget the drunken mess that Jack was the night before.
9. Biker Babes
This scene may have only lasted a few seconds, but picture this: Ally riding a motorcycle in thigh-high red heeled boots, with a black bandana circling her face, clasping her arms around Jack, who’s driving, as they storm a completely empty highway in the desert, with a skyline that must be either dusk or dawn. Yep, it happened, and we’d like to remember it forever.
8. Ally Calls It Quits
Let’s admit it: From the moment Ally’s cruel waitressing boss commands her to take out the trash in the beginning of the movie, we’re all waiting for that scene you just know is coming when she triumphantly throws in the towel. And oh, does she! At first, Ally resists Jackson’s invitation to attend one of his gigs, saying she can’t skip work. But when her jerk boss launches into another tirade as soon as she arrives at the restaurant, she changes her mind: Ally quits on the spot, jumps in a private jet, and… well, you know the rest. The moment delivers on the sweet, sweet satisfaction the audience is waiting for, and what happens next makes Ally’s decision to call it quits on her dead-end job all the more gratifying (*Hint: see No. 2).
7. Jack’s Recording Studio Trick
When Ally’s nerves get the best of her in her first solo recording session, Jack saves the day with a thoughtful idea that shows us just how well he knows his gal. Realizing that Ally feels most comfortable when she’s seated at the piano, he brings the instrument into the bare recording booth, so that Ally can play her songs as she sings them instead of merely singing along to a playback. It does the trick, and Ally kills the session.
6. “I Just Wanna Get Another Look At You”
OK, so it’s been meme-d into oblivion. But Jack’s iconic “I just wanna get another look at you” line — a flirty move said after he gets Ally to turn around one last time before she leaves, a moment which has surfaced in some form in each of the four Stars — just doesn’t get old. What the trailer doesn’t disclose is that Jack uses the line not once, but two times in the film: the second pass comes near the end of the movie, and it ends up being the last time [*sniffles*] that Jack sees Ally.
5. Drag Bar Discovery
The scene where Jack “discovers” Ally in a drag bar is special for a couple of reasons. First off, we get to watch Gaga/Ally absolutely nail a rendition of Édith Piaf’s 1945 “La Vie en Rose,” all while clad in fishnets, a silky red slip dress and a piled-up hairdo. It’s also the moment Jack falls in love with her, made clear by his astounded gaze as Ally makes the entire room her stage. If nothing else, it’s affirming to see a major motion picture put a drag bar on the screen (more on that later). And finally, Cooper has revealed in interviews that the moment he decided to cast Gaga as Ally was after watching her perform — wait for it — “La Vie en Rose” at a fundraiser.
4. Parking Lot Romance
Jeez, aren’t they adorable? Jack and Ally absolutely bleed chemistry throughout the movie, but this scene — where Jack wraps a bag of frozen peas (!) around Ally’s hand in a grocery store parking lot after she injures it punching a too-eager fan — is one of their best. With the hand situation under control, Ally loosens up enough to spontaneously belt out the chorus of what would later become “Shallow.” Ally is incredible, Jackson is in awe, and the ridiculous bag of peas strapped to her arm as she sings keeps the scene from feeling overly serious.
3. The Proposal
Ally and Jack’s marriage is expected, but the way it happens surely isn’t. While having dinner with old friends, Jack slips an engagement ring made of a twisted guitar string on Ally’s finger. Her response? Something along the lines of “what is happening?” and then “okay, sure” — lines spoken with the ease of only someone who knows they’ve met their soulmate. A spontaneous wedding ensues, and at the after party, the happy couple smear cake in each other’s faces.
2. “Shallow” Hits The Stage
It’s telling that even though we’ve already watched this scene play out in the film’s trailer more times than we’d like to admit, it’s still thrilling to watch it for the first time on the big screen. After initially refusing Jack’s offer to join him onstage, Ally scrounges up the courage to take the mic, giving a blistering turn at “Shallow.” Gaga’s acting chops are on full display here: It’s hard to believe that the woman we’re watching would ever give up the chance to put on a show, but as Ally, she shows believable restraint. And the crowd goes wild!
1. Jack’s Love Song
Just like A Star Is Born, we’ve saved the best for last. In the final scene of the movie, Gaga steps onstage at an elegant theater to perform “I’ll Never Love Again,” a song her late husband wrote to her. Not only are the lyrics devastatingly beautiful, but Gaga/Ally showcases her full, skyscraper-high range — even after informing the audience that she could only get through the performance, “with your help, maybe.” (And did we mention her stunning periwinkle gown?) We’ve since learned that Gaga has a framed, 15-foot photograph of the final shot in her home, and honestly, we don’t blame her.
BONUS: The Queens
Our list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the film’s unsung heroes: the drag queens, which include Shangela and Willam of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Like true friends, they encourage Ally to follow her passion for singing, and basically force Jack to meet her after he stumbles into their bar. If it weren’t for the queens, there would be no star to be born — nor would there be the laugh-out-loud humor and fabulous glamour they provide.