'A Star Is Born' age rating changed in New Zealand after teens 'severely triggered'

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

By Taryn Rider

Warning: This article contains a major spoiler for A Star Is Born

The head of the New Zealand film classification board is explaining his reasoning over the rating change of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s acclaimed movie, A Star Is Born. David Shanks tells the Guardian that he demanded a new warning be issued as teens were “severely triggered” over the film’s final scene.

(This is your last chance to avoid ruining the ending of the Oscar frontrunner.)

The movie now comes with a suicide warning after complaints of viewer distress from 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.

The film is rated M in New Zealand — “unrestricted, suitable for 16 years and over” — similar to its classification in Australia. There is also warning issued at the start of the screenings cautioning viewers about “sex scenes, offensive language, drug use, and suicide.” While adding “suicide” in there is clearly a spoiler, it’s something Shanks says is necessary.

“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.”

The Mental Health Foundation credited the Cooper-directed film with discretion as the death happens offscreen, 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 15 in the UK, and was passed uncut by the BBFC.

The drama is rated R in the U.S., meaning those under the age of 17 require an accompanying parent or guardian.

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