'A Star is Born' controversy after film 'severely triggers' teens

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s acclaimed movie A Star Is Born has had a classification change in New Zealand after teenagers were “severely triggered” by the film’s final scene.

The movie now comes with a suicide warning in the classification notes after complaints of viewer distress from the Police Victim Support over Cooper’s character, Jackson Maine, hanging himself in his garage.

Further complaints were also filed with the Office of Film & Literature Classification by the Mental Health Foundation.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s acclaimed movie A Star Is Born now comes with a suicide warning after complaints of viewer distress. Source: Warner Bros

The film is rated M in New Zealand — “unrestricted, suitable for 16 years and over” — similar to its classification in Australia. There is a warning issued at the start of the screenings cautioning viewers about “sex scenes, offensive language, drug use, and suicide.”

The head of the New Zealand film classification board David Shanks told the Guardian he demanded a new warning be issued because many young people became “severely triggered” over the suicide scene.

“Many people in New Zealand have been impacted by suicide,” he said. “For those who have lost someone close to them, a warning gives them a chance to make an informed choice about watching.”

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born. Source: Warner Bros /Courtesy of Everett Collection

The Mental Health Foundation credited the Cooper-directed film with discretion as the death happens off screen, but tells the Guardian that it heard that some viewers had left screenings feeling extremely distressed and requiring access to professional support.

A Star Is Born is rated R in the US, meaning those under the age of 17 require an accompanying parent or guardian.

If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline 13 11 14, Mensline 1300 789 978, the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, or Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36.