Warning: This article contains spoilers for ‘A Star Is Born’.
‘A Star Is Born’ has had a warning note added after mental health concerns were raised for vulnerable young people watching the film.
David Shanks, head of the New Zealand film classification board, introduced the warning after some young viewers were said to have been “severely triggered” after viewing a scene in the film in which Bradley Cooper’s character, Jackson Maine, dies by suicide.
The Mental Health Foundation has also been reported to have filed complaints surrounding the film, which charts a struggling music artist’s rise to fame. The charity also said it has heard of viewers needing access to professional support after seeing the film.
In New Zealand, the film, starring Lady Gaga, previously warned of sex scenes, offensive language and drug use, but did not for suicide. Its current age rating is ‘M’, which deems it suitable for anyone 16 years or older.
Of his demand to introduce a warning, David said: “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, in which Jackson is an ageing country music star struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse, is a remake of three other versions of the story, and follows a set formula in which the male lead dies by suicide at the film’s climax. The 2018 version has accrued substantial Oscar buzz since its release.
According to a report by Unicef, New Zealand has a youth suicide rate of 15.6 per 100,000 people – the highest youth suicide rate “in the developed world”, and almost five times the rate of Britain. As of 2018, the overall suicide rate in New Zealand is the highest since records began.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.