When walking into the movie theater to see the newest remake of "A Star Is Born," I never expected to be as touched by the movie as I was. Not only was the music absolutely amazing, but the portrayals of depression and addiction were real and pulled no punches.
Warning: There are going to be major spoilers for the movie.
"A Star Is Born" was amazing in its portrayal of Jackson's alcohol and drug addictions and depression as well as Ally's rise to stardom while loving someone with all of these issues. The relationship felt genuine and watching Jackson's downward spiral was heartbreaking.
There are so many things I could say about this movie, but I want to focus on the mental health and suicide aspects of the story.
I had accidentally spoiled the ending for myself before seeing the movie, so I knew that the story would end tragically with Jackson committing suicide.
And throughout the movie, I kept bracing myself, waiting for the moment that it would happen. Suicide is a very sensitive subject, so I was afraid that they would mess it up.
When Ally and Jackson were arguing, I was afraid that Ally would leave him and Jackson would kill himself, perpetuating the idea that someone who leaves a bad situation is responsible for what happens to them after the relationship is over.
I was also afraid that the fact that he was going deaf would cause him to commit suicide, which could have pushed the harmful message that having a disability is worse than death.
Luckily, neither of these happened and it was really refreshing.
Ally was incredibly supportive of Jackson, constantly reassuring him that his addiction is a disease that he doesn't always have control of. And though he had the support of his wife, brother, and friends, his depression and the feeling that he was just a burden on Ally still got the better of him in the end.
I love how this played out because, unlike shows like "13 Reasons Why," it shows the harsh reality that people can choose suicide even when they have a strong support system and it's nobody's fault that someone else made the decision to end their own life.
Jackson's brother even tells Ally that Jackson made his own decision and that she couldn't have done anything more. This is a great (and truthful) message to send to those who might have had a loved one who committed suicide. It's not their fault.
Also, I was very afraid that they would show Jackson killing himself on camera, like "13 Reasons Why" did. In the theater, I had my hands covering my face, prepared to look away should I start seeing anything graphic. However, the suicide wasn't shown and it didn't have to be to make a huge emotional impact on me.
Bradley Cooper's acting was phenomenal as Jackson walked around the garage, setting his hat down, feeding his dog one last time, etc. And when he slammed the garage door, I had chills all over. Seeing the dog outside the garage waiting for him broke me much more than seeing a graphic suicide scene ever would have.
I had to hold my breath to keep from audibly sobbing.
Both of the leads were three-dimensional people. And though the end of the movie and Lady Gaga singing "I'll Never Love Again" were very heartbreaking to watch, I didn't leave the theater feeling despair. I left feeling like I had experienced and learned some truths about mental health and addiction.
So though I left the theater with tears all over my face, it was well worth the pain.