It was one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history. Judy Garland, who'd been off the screen for four years, wowed critics with a spectacular screen comeback in the kind of music drama she'd never been assigned in her famous MGM years. She starred in the first musical remake of A STAR IS BORN, a film that expertly combined the bright Technicolor and romance of musicals she'd made famous with dark elements of excess, self-destruction, self-loathing and sacrifice. Vicki Lester is now a singer with a band. She'll be discovered by alcoholic Norman Maine, a big movie star whose star is falling as he enables hers to ascend. They will fall in love. Hollywood will fall in love with her. So will the public. Hollywood will reject him because of his drinking. Loving her will be his redemption. She believes her love can make him stop drinking. In short, the 1954 remake of A STAR IS BORN shows the high and lows of stardom. Director George Cukor focuses on the dreamer and what happens after her dream comes true. Her dream was to have a hit record. Norman Maine sincerely tells her that "the dream isn't big enough." He adds, "Don't settle for the little dream. Go on to the big one." And we get some great got original music -- most notably, "The Man That Got Away." The Best Song Oscar nominee became one of Garland's signature tunes for the rest of her life.
Gosling and Stone played two young show biz hopefuls living in Los Angeles who meet and have a romantic attraction. She works behind the counter at a coffeeshop and goes to some humiliating auditions. Vicki Lester (Garland) will also have a coffee & fast food service gig to pay the rent before she gets a big break, thanks to a very honorable Norman Maine (played brilliantly by Best Actor Oscar nominee, James Mason).
If you stay through the rest of the film, and you should, there's the "Born In A Trunk" number. The last act has Garland in a soundstage dressing room breakdown scene. Vicki Lester confides to the studio head that Norman's drinking has shattered her life, but she still loves him. She has this riveting emotional scene during a short break while filming a jazzy, optimistic musical.