Reviewed by: Samiatu Dosunmu
What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer
If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer
Father and son relationships
What is SEXUAL IMMORALITY? Answer
Transvestites and homosexuality
Music in the Bible
Lady Gaga … Ally
Bradley Cooper … Jackson Maine
Sam Elliott … Bobby
Dave Chappelle … George “Noodles” Stone
Anthony Ramos … Ramon
Bonnie Somerville … Sally Cummings
Andrew Dice Clay … Lorenzo
Rafi Gavron … Rez
Michael Harney … Wolfe
D.J. “Shangela” Pierce … Drag Bar Emcee
Willam Belli … Emerald
See all »
|Producer:||Live Nation Productions
See all »
Warner Bros. Pictures
*** WARNING: If one suffers from addiction and or struggles with suicidal thoughts or has attempted suicide, I would not recommend this movie. ***
“A Star is Born” marks Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. Viewers are first introduced to his character Jackson Main (Bradley Cooper) as he consumes alcohol and pills before taking the stage to perform with his band at their sold-out concert. After the show, a clearly intoxicated Jackson enters a car and passes out as he is being driven away.
When Jackson regains consciousness, he demands to be taken to a bar. He directs his driver to the nearest one, which happens to be a drag bar (transvestite performers and customers). Upon arriving, he is greeted by the bouncer who recognizes him. The bouncer informs him of the nature of the bar, to which Jackson replies, “They got alcohol?” the bouncer says, “Yes.” Jackson sees no issue, enters and heads straight to the bar. He makes polite conversation with other people in the establishment who recognize him, due to his rockstar status.
Minutes later, Ally (Lady Gaga) takes the stage. Dressed in a revealing black dress, she puts on a provocative performance of Édith Piafs’ “La Vie en Rose.” During her performance, she lies down on the bar counter in front of Jackson and makes direct eye contact. He begins to cry—visibly enamored by her.
After the performance, Jackson heads backstage to the dressing room where he is greeted by drag queens who are excited to be in his company. Although he is touched by the warm welcome, he heads straight to Ally and strikes up a conversation. At first, she is reluctant to speak to Jackson. However, her apprehension dissipates as he compliments her performance and asks questions about her makeup. Smitten by her beauty and warm nature, he offers to by her a drink. She accepts, but not before informing him that he will have to wait until after she removes her makeup and washes her hair. He agrees.
As the night progresses, they begin to bond in a parking lot where Jackson reveals he grew up in Arizona; his mother died in child birth at the age of eighteen. His father was much older, but did not care for him, and he was raised by his older brother and manager Bobby (Sam Elliott).
Jackson asks Ally about her musical career. She reveals that she has never pursued one because of her big nose—which is why she never sings her own songs. Jackson smiles and genuinely shares that her nose is the feature he finds most attractive about her. Unsure of how to react, she sings a few lyrics from a song she wrote called “Shallow.”
Later, in the morning, Jackson drops her off at her house and asks her to watch his next performance. Ally declines, because she is scheduled to work. Jackson insists that she attend, and she responds by smiling and touching her nose in an outline-like fashion, turns and walks away. Jackson calls out to her to turn around. When she does, he smiles and says, “I just wanted to get another good look at you,” before driving away.
That evening, Ally and her friend Ramon (Anthony Ramos) are reprimanded by their employer for being late. Having had enough, she impulsively quits and brings Ramon with her to Jackson’s concert. Excited that Ally came, Jackson calls her on stage to sing “Shallow.” At first, she declines, but, after some encouragement, takes the stage and performs the song as a duet with Jackson. The performance is recorded on YouTube and is well received. Over time, Ally begins to perform at other Jackson concerts, and the two forge a romantic relationship.
After a series of events, the movie ends on a tragic note, forcing Ally and Bobby (Sam Elliott) to question the true nature of their respective relationship with Jackson.
Biblically, addiction has two distinctive definitions: broadly and compulsive. The movie focuses on the latter. Compulsive addiction, which is “the unnatural need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.” This type of addiction is a form of idolatry which the Gospel is clearly against.
“that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.” —1 Thessalonians 4:4
One of the strengths of this film is the accurate depiction of compulsive addiction and its intricacies. Jackson Maine exhibits compulsive addictive behavior. He is often disheveled in appearance, slurs his speech at times, stumbles when he walks, experiences prolonged blackouts, and mood swings. During Ally and Jackson’s first conversation, in the parking lot of a grocery store, Ally immediately picks up on Jackson’s lack of self-control by singing part of the lyrics to SHALLOW. “…I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in, I’ll never hit the ground…” The lyrics are a foreshadowing of Jackson’s present and future: if Jackson does not learn to establish self-boundaries, he will continue to be his own worst enemy, until it is too late.
After Ally’s debut performance, both head to his hotel room with the intention of having intimate relations. Ally excuses herself to go to the bathroom, only to return and witness Bobby (Sam Elliott) putting the intoxicated and blacked-out Jackson (Bradley Cooper) to bed. Bobby warns her to be careful; Jackson has demons. Jackson uses alcohol and drugs to suppress his demons, rather than face them.
During one of her solo performances, she meets Rez (Rafi Gavron), a music producer who expresses interest in managing her career—to which she agrees. To support her, Jackson begins to realize the depth of his addiction when a visibly upset Ally shows up at his good friend George “Noodles” Stone’s house (Dave Chappelle) after he fails to honor his promise to show up at her first solo concert. She tells him she was worried sick and will not come looking for him again. Touched by her caring nature and unshakable loyalty towards him, Jackson decides to support her by trying sobriety.
According to Webster’s dictionary, idolatry is defined as “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” The Bible is clear that this is a form of sin and an insult to God.
“You shall have no other gods before me.” —Exodus 20:3
As the movie unfolds, underneath the surface of Jackson’s alcoholism and drug abuse lies depression. He shares with Ally that his father was 63 when he was born, and it affected him that his brother was much older and took care of him. Nevertheless, he idolized his father, in a God-like fashion.
“Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.” —Exodus 23:13
What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer
Later, as Ally’s fame skyrockets, Jackson relapses. He becomes increasingly hostile toward her, often insulting her by bringing up her insecurities about her physical appearance. She points out that he is a drunk and wonders if he would respect her more if she drank with him too, like his father. In Jackson’s case, his father was like God to him, which further fuels his depression of not having his primary enabler and those around him refusing to be a part of his self-destruction.
In their book entitled BOUNDARIES, both Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend argue that “[…] as Christians we know that willpower alone guarantees failure. We are denying the power of the relationship promised in the cross. If all we need is our will to overcome evil, we certainly don’t need a Savior. […] the truth is willpower alone is useless against self-boundary struggles.”
Within the dynamics of Ally and Jackson’s relationship, both idolize each other. She because he seems to be the only person who loves her despite what she deems as her flawed physical appearance, and he because she forgives and remains loyal to him, despite his numerous relapses. To navigate their tumultuous relationship, both exhibit willpower.
The open act of drug use— In one scene, Jackson is seen snorting lines of powdered drugs. In another, he purchases and injects steroids.
Fornication— There are scenes of Ally and Jackson engaging in intimate relations while not being married.
Physical violence— There is a bar fight scene, and another where Jackson physically attacks his brother.
We see drag queens either in the nude or getting ready. At one point, a performer asks Jackson to sign his fake female bosom. Lady Gaga is seen completely nude and dressed in revealing clothing with her nipples or buttocks showing.
Offensive language— There is numerous uses uses of various forms of the word f*** in the form of “f*ck me,” “f*ck shit,” etc. There were almost too many to count. Please be aware that the dialog also contains a lot of profane language.
During the Toronto Film Festival premiere, Bradley Cooper told “Vanity Fair” that he made this film because, “I wanted to tell a story about people needing each other and how hard that is, no matter your background. …The whole thing is that these two people found each other, and it is a pure love.” In some way, he is right. However, we need the cross more than we need man, because Jesus does not disappoint.
What is Christian LOVE? Answer
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.