While A Star Is Born continues to burn up the box office, gathering momentum as it heads towards awards season, in New Zealand the film has caused some consternation that’s lead to the nation’s film classification board to pull the unusual move of re-rating the movie after its release.
And it goes without saying here, but consider this a gigantic SPOILER warning for any of you who haven’t yet seen it.
While initially New Zealand carried over Australia’s rating of M, including sex scenes, offensive language, and drug use, concerns from mental health advocacy groups have seen the NZ film classification board demand that a suicide warning note be added to prints of A Star Is Born after young people were reportedly “severely triggered” by the film’s sombre conclusion.
The scene in question concerns Bradley Cooper‘s troubled, addict character Jackson Maine who hangs himself in his garage after discovering that Lady Gaga‘s acclaimed character Ally Campana cancelled a lucrative international tour to care for him.
Despite the death occurring off-screen, Police Victim Support in NZ received complaints of viewer distress from at least two teens who were reportedly left deeply disturbed by the scene.
This, combined with advocacy from support group the Mental Health Foundation, has lead to NZ Film Classification Board boss David Shanks to add an advisory to prints of the film, extending the classification to include “and suicide” to rating information.
Rather than an angry reaction, however, the film is largely being praised by officials for its handling of the trick scene, with Shanks asserting that the extra information is being added in order to give Kiwi viewers with personal experience with suicide the appropriate information to make informed choices.
Many people in New Zealand have been impacted by suicide. For those who have lost someone close to them, a warning gives them a chance to make an informed choice about watching.
The film is still in cinemas nationwide. The Australian film classification board has not, as of yet, followed suit with New Zealand.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health issues or suicidal thoughts, support can be found by contacting LifeLine Australia on 13 11 14 or by visiting BeyondBlue. In emergency situations, please don’t hesitate to call 000.