Before you consider bashing me for hating on this critically acclaimed and predicted Oscar-nominated movie, hear me out.
I know A Star is Born is a classic that has been redone four times now, most recently starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. I only knew it was a remake because when I asked my mom to go see it with me, she said she had seen the Barbara Streisand version and really enjoyed it. That was all the knowledge I had about the movie.
I was really looking forward to this musical drama. The commercials already had me falling in love and EVERYONE was raving about it.
So we went. We had a mother-daughter date night and headed over to find our reclined seating at the theater. I was hooked from the moment it started. I was jamming out to the music and in love with the romance that was alive on screen, just like everyone said.
But as Bradley Cooper’s character started to fall deeper into his demons, my heart raced a little more. And then as he began to share about his past, as if he were going to overcome it all by being brave and seeking help, I was elated with excitement that the good would prevail.
Only then, I watched him leave his cocoon of daily self-care and providers who walked alongside him, and find himself alone in his feelings again. In a life of fear of sharing the truth. In a place of shame for past mistakes.
Just like every other viewer, I yearned to make the world right for him. And then, he determined the best way to save everyone was to disappear.
I’m going to warn you that if you haven’t seen the movie, you probably don’t want to continue reading. But in the spirit of saving someone else from what I experienced, I must spoil the ending. If you have experienced trauma through the demons of drugs, alcohol, or suicide, read on because this warning is for you.
I, like many others in our society, have been personally affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide. I wish I could say I am alone in this and that no one else around me as been affected either, but I can’t. Specifically, I have lost loved ones to the method of hanging, which was depicted in this movie.
To sit in a theater and watch this man misunderstand the situation because of another’s influence and because he struggled to be honest in his pain, even with those he loved—it wrecked me. To watch him say his goodbyes to his wife and his dog, even while seeing that he didn’t really want to die, left me in a pit of despair. I was so sad and overwhelmed for this created character because it was so real. His pain that was created for a movie is the pain that so many others experience. Even witnessing the authorities arriving to find his lifeless body brought back memories of those who found my loved ones, having to tell me what had occurred.
I struggled to put into words what I had experienced during this movie. I was in that same pit of despair throughout the rest of the night and into the following day. I kept thinking of everyone who said, “It’s such a great movie!” And I really tried to agree.
I loved the music and had a new appreciation for the actors, the imagery in the film was great, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. My mom and I even tried to listen to the music the next morning and I had to turn it off because I found it too depressing.
I found myself repeating, it was just a movie, it was just a movie, it was just a movie. With that and several prayers, I was able to finally let it go and move on.
But ever since, I have seen the rave reviews continue and I keep feeling that others must agree with me, too. Others must have wished they had been told.
Because if I had been warned that suicide was involved in the movie, I would not have gone.