Spoilers unavoidable in this one.
Bradley Cooper’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful hit A Star is Born has been hit with a warning at the beginning of the movie for showings in New Zealand, effectively ruining the movie’s ending.
After a pair of teenagers complained they were “severely triggered” by the movie’s tragic ending in which Cooper’s character, Jackson Maine, commits suicide after a long bout with addiction. It’s a new variation of the two previous versions of the movie in which the male leads also die. Kris Kristofferson died in a car accident in the 1976 version and James Mason’s version from 1954 walks into the ocean and drowns himself.
The new warning basically gives away the ending, during which Bradley Cooper’s character Jackson Maine dies by suicide in his garage. Viewers only learn of Maine’s history of suicidal tendencies close to the end of the movie, which adds crucial context to his narrative but also feels a bit out of the blue. You don’t see the actual death (it happens off-screen), but it is broadly gestured towards, and there are some pretty sad and heart-wrenching shots.
This change to the New Zealand showings of the movie happened after police received complaints from two “vulnerable young people,” according to The Guardian. According to the authorities’ report, they were “severely triggered” from watching the scene. The Office of Film and Literature Classification also received similar complaints.
This isn’t a sign that the movie is too dramatically “trigger-worthy.” It’s a sign of the delicate nature of today’s youths in western society. There are countless movies with more emotionally disturbing scenes than the ending of A Star is Born, including suicides and murders that would “trigger” more than a couple of teens in New Zealand.
Some would say this is a good thing. Teens are now either better in touch with their feelings or simply more willing to express how they feel. Allowing for such triggers to be discussed and to get action as a result can be a positive thing that prevents worse things from happening.
Unfortunately, I’m not buying any of it. That’s not to say I don’t think people can get triggered. I just don’t think an entire nation must deal with the consequences of two teens not properly prepared by their parents or guardians to handle the emotional stress of a movie.
Instead of a warning that ruins the ending for everyone else, perhaps these two teens should stop going to movies.
Our overly sensitive, politically correct society seems bent on ruining anything that could possibly cause distress to anyone. Guess what. That’s everything. People need to learn how to wear emotional helmets and knee pads instead of trying to eliminate any potential trigger that could damage their precious psyches.