By Erin Hindman | Features Editor
On Oct. 5, A Star Is Born was released in theaters. This version, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (who also directed the film) was the fifth reimagining of the now classic story.
Each version differs a little in plot and tone, but one constant theme in each movie is depression and addiction and the effects they have on people suffering from them and on those around them.
The movie tries to make the audience empathize with these experiences through the performances of the actors, and the average audience member will probably end up having an emotional reaction by the end of the film.
However, no matter how much moviegoers enjoy the film or how they feel they have seen an authentic portrayal of addiction and depression, the question of how accurate this movie was in its representation and whether that representation has a negative effect on those who suffer from those diseases may be in the back of the audience’s mind. They may value responsible viewership.
The accuracy of how A Star Is Born portrays addiction and mental illness could be considered a subjective topic, but one thing that the movie has going for it in the way of good representation is that addiction is not romanticized.
There’s a scene in the film (it takes place at the Grammys) in which some of the most catastrophic consequences of addiction are depicted.
It should also be noted that A Star Is Born has the support of the American Council on Science and Health.
In an article posted on their website on Oct. 10, M.D. Jamie Wells wrote, “… Cooper aptly depicts the all-encompassing, all-consuming often exhausting demands of addiction, while his abundantly clear self-medicating to numb the pain from his childhood trauma and unimaginable losses further illustrates the tragic nature of the disease.”
“The anguish of his wife, Gaga’s role, brother, father-in-law, and friends is another authentic consequence of addiction,” Wells added.
The goal of this movie and the goal of any A Star Is Born incarnation, is not to provide an accurate and valuable portrayal of addiction or mental illness.
Addiction ends up being explored as sort of a sub-theme, with the central theme being more focused on the rise to fame in America, what it takes and how it affects those involved
The first version of this film was even titled What Price Hollywood?
However, to be a responsible viewer, the audience should still consider the way these diseases are portrayed and its impact on those who are affected by them.