Story

This is the fourth version of the 1937 movie of the same name, but this remake of A Star is Born has a rock-and-roll theme.

When guitar legend Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) stumbles into a bar one night after a gig, he’s taken aback by the raw talent of the young performer on stage, Ally (Lady Gaga). After the show, he strikes up a conversation with her and they connect deeply over their mutual love of music. When Jackson asks Ally whether she writes her own songs, she surprises him by spontaneously composing a song that moves and impresses him. At the end of the night Jackson insists that Ally come to his gig the next night. At first Ally refuses, but then decides to go at the last minute.

For Ally, this is a turning point in her career, transforming her from a waitress who sings in drag bars into a pop star. As Ally’s star ascends, Jackson’s fades and he spirals downwards into addiction and mental illness.

Themes

The rock music lifestyle; drug addiction; mental illness; suicide; love and relationships; music

Violence

A Star is Born has some violence. For example:

  • Jackson Maine punches his brother in the face.
  • Ally punches a policeman in the face when he tries to take a photo of Jackson.
  • Jackson becomes verbally abusive to Ally in one scene. For example, he says, ‘You’re just f-----g ugly’.

Sexual references

A Star is Born has some sexual references. For example, when Jackson visits Ally in the dressing room at the drag bar, a performer asks Jackson to sign her breasts.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

A Star is Born shows a lot of substance use and abuse. For example:

  • Jackson shakes pills into his hand and swallows them.
  • Jackson drinks until he passes out or behaves in an embarrassing or threatening way.
  • Jackson snorts cocaine from a table.
  • Many scenes have shaky camera work that shows Jackson’s perspective when he’s either drugged or drunk.

Nudity and sexual activity

A Star is Born has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • There are several sex scenes, although they aren’t very explicit. For example, a couple rolls around together in bed passionately, but their bodies are covered.
  • Ally and Jackson kiss passionately many times.
  • Ally stands up in the bath, and there is a brief moment of frontal nudity.
  • Jackson has his trousers half way down to expose a buttock for an injection.
  • A drag performer puts fake breasts on in a changing room.

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

A Star is Born has constant coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

A Star is Born is a moving and well-crafted tragic love story. It has a strong and powerful message about the destructive force of alcohol and drug use, and explores the dark side of a rock-and-roll lifestyle without glorifying it in any way. The music and acting are memorable.

If your teenage child is interested in seeing A Star is Born, you might want to think about whether your child is mature enough to understand the movie’s darker themes. It’s also important to be aware that the movie has frequent coarse language. This movie isn’t recommended for children under 15 years, and even older teenagers might want to talk about its themes with you.

The main messages from this movie are that fame comes at a personal price and that addiction can be fatal.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • being devoted to your talent
  • working hard to achieve your goals
  • loving people selflessly.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about several issues including:

  • mental illness
  • suicide
  • drug and alcohol addiction
  • the darker side of fame.