A Star is Born Parent Guide
. This star might have been born but it is so clouded by sex, violence, profanity and alcohol that it is unable to shine.
Parent Movie Review
Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, A Star is Born, is the third adaptation of a 1937 film of the same name. It features Lady Gaga as Ally, a young waitress aspiring to be a singer. Her world is turned upside down when she meets Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a country rock singer with a drinking problem. Stumbling into a drag bar for more booze, Jackson is struck by her rendition of “La Vie en Rose” From there, the two abscond to another bar, and following a minor fight, to a grocery store where Jackson finds ice for Ally’s hand. She sings for him again, and he tells her to come to his show the following night. With a little encouragement, she winds up singing in front of a sold-out crowd. What follows is a story tracking the ups and downs of the relationship between these two artists, the commercial pressure of the music industry, and the heart-breaking dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
Unfortunately, this film is loaded with content concerns in areas of alcohol abuse, language, and sex. Profanity in the film is near-constant with 100 sexual expletives and another 40 curse words, providing at least one crude or profane word per minute. Sexual content includes a couple having intercourse (a shadowed set reduces the clarity of the image), blurred full frontal female nudity, and a couple bathing together with a side view of a woman’s breast, along with other less explicit moments. The use and abuse of drugs and alcohol are a larger concern but are portrayed extremely negatively and the consequences for using both are dire. Characters are shown benefitting from rehabilitation, and it is clearly demonstrated that neither drugs nor alcohol are beneficial to any character’s creativity or happiness. This raises an interesting dilemma for parents of older teens who want to see A Star Is Born: can a film loaded with negative content be a valuable experience for viewers if the story illustrates the heartbreaking consequences of poor life choices?
Those who choose to see this picture will find that it is about 30 minutes too long with uneven pacing and some serious drag in the second act. This is made much more bearable by hard-hitting and surprisingly emotional performances from Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Cooper has clearly put in a lot of time and effort into the musical aspects of his role and transforms quite convincingly into a troubled musician. Gaga, already an accomplished vocalist, does excellent work as a strong, charismatic young singer with a very complex emotional life. Amongst the supporting cast, Sam Elliot stands out as Cooper’s older brother, and helps to ground these larger than life characters.
If the tearful sniffling of the women in the seats behind me were any indication, the movie manages to hit its emotional marks, especially with the final song before the credits. While this does scream “Oscar-bait”, it manages a certain authenticity, which I think is due to Bradley Cooper’s earnest performance. Some of the content, particularly the language and sex, completely rule this out as a family film. Adults who want to enjoy the heady drama of this retold tale should be prepared for a star that doesn’t shine quite as brightly as it otherwise could have.Directed by Bradley Cooper. Starring Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott . Running time: 135 minutes. Theatrical release October 5, 2018. Updated October 25, 2018
Watch the trailer for A Star is Born
A Star is Born
Rating & Content Info
Why is A Star is Born rated R? A Star is Born is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse
Violence: A man commits suicide off camera. A character talks about his adolescent suicide attempt. There are several scenes of conflict including a woman punching a man in the face and another where a man punches an older man in the face.(No injuries are shown.) An intoxicated man harasses a celebrity. A woman breaks glass covered pictures with her hand. There are many episodes where people argue with each other - these involve shouting and/or abusive language.
Sexual Content: Graphic scenes of sexual activity including intercourse between an unmarried couple (shadowed setting reduces clarity) and another episode where a couple bathe together with the side of her breast visible. Nudity is also a problem with one scene showing full frontal female nudity, although the scene is blurry. A man’s bare buttocks are visible at another time. A drag queen jokes about losing virginity and a man autographs a drag queen’s bare chest. A drag queen puts on false breasts.
Profanity: There is so much profanity in this film it is difficult to figure out where the rest of the script fits in. There are approximately 140 instances of profanity, at least 100 of which are a sexual expletive which is often used in a sexual context. The movie also features over a dozen scatological curses as well as terms of deity and mild expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are frequent portrayals of illegal drug use in an addiction context including prescription drug abuse and a scene involving a shared marijuana joint. Alcohol abuse is a mainstay of the film (one of the protagonists is a serious alcoholic) but the tragic consequences of alcoholism are shown and its use is not glamorized.
Page last updated October 25, 2018
A Star is Born Parents' Guide
How can we help people who are suffering with substance abuse issues? What can be done to prevent addiction or substance abuse?
Related home video titles:
Families looking for a clean version of this story can watch the 1954 version of A Star Is Born. Alcoholism remains a central plot element and cigarette smoking is frequent, making it suitable for teens. Ray is an excellent biopic about Ray Charles, a gifted musician who struggled with drug addiction.
Movie buffs of all ages can enjoy Singin’ in the Rain and its message of making the best of changing circumstances in the world of show biz. And The Greatest Showman provides a fantastic musical backdrop to its story of the price of making it in the entertainment business.
Older children and teens will also have fun with the High School Musical franchise with its clean cut stories of teens working through personal and social challenges to perform.
Parents looking for a film suitable younger children can turn to The Muppet Movie which shows how Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and other beloved Muppets made it to the big time in Hollywood. The Muppets Take Manhattan gives another story about their rise to fame on Broadway. And The Muppets tells a more sobering story ofhow fame can divide friends and the challenges in moving past old hurts.