Important Takeaways from A Star is Born

A Star is Born, featuring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, was one the most anticipated and successful movies in 2018. The movie was beyond just a story line and incredible vocals.

*Warning: This article contains spoilers

  1. Mental illness is real. Substance abuse is serious.

The main character in the movie, Jackson, was seriously affected by alcoholism and prescription drug abuse. His addiction stemmed from his unresolved childhood trauma. Addiction is unfortunately common in our world. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.5 million Americans aged 12 and over had a substance abuse disorder in 2014. Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, reported that 8 million American adults suffered from co-occurring disorders, or both a mental illness and substance abuse disorder. Addiction does not randomly occur. Oftentimes, people drown the pain with alcohol giving birth to an addiction. Our society needs to increase the conversation about mental illness. Also, it is imperative that we don’t treat those with substance abuse, or mental illnesses, as a burden. We need to view those with a substance abuse disorder as sick individuals, but not the evil individuals that the media often portrays. In A Star is Born, Jackson was a loving person that needed help. Educating our society on effectively treating and dealing with mentally ill and addicted individuals will ultimately result in healthier individuals and a productive society.

  1. Trauma impacts people for the rest of their lives

Behind Jackson’s addiction was distress from childhood trauma. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, two-thirds of children have experienced a traumatic event prior to the age of 16. Additionally, trauma is a risk factor for almost all substance abuse and behavioral health disorders. Early Childhood Mental Health reported that trauma during childhood causes the brain to enter a state of heightened stress, which ends up affecting emotional, physical, and mental development because the child is trying to survive. Similar to most mental health issues, children who lived through trauma don’t receive any help, according to the American Psychological Association.  When children never receive psychological treatment, they often become similar to Jackson. He never dealt with his trauma which affected his ability to cope and consequently led to his addiction and later his suicide.

Although Jackson is a movie character, his story embodies real people. Trauma never goes away. It is imperative that we recognize what trauma is, and those who may be affected by it. Individuals that have experienced trauma will understand that help from professionals is necessary and is nothing to be afraid of. We have to talk to and educate all people about mental illness and trauma so all can live an enjoyable life, not just those in opportune circumstances.

Everyone has emotions and should be able to express them. The toxic mentality that males are taught has to go.”

  1.  We need to teach men how to express their emotions

Throughout time, men have been taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness and therefore have practiced blocking out their emotions. The Men’s Health Forum reported that three out of four suicides are by men, men are nearly three times more likely to be dependent on alcohol and die by using illicit drugs. In the movie, Jackson rarely discussed the implications of his trauma, and instead turns to destructive behaviors. Emotions and pain are not gender specific. Everyone has emotions and should be able to express them. The toxic mentality that males are taught has to go.

    4. Men should not fear a woman’s success

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29% of women earn more money than their husbands. The American Psychological Association reports that men’s self-esteem lowers when their wives are out-earning them. They often feel as that they are a failure resulting in chaos within a marriage. Ally was beginning to become more successful in the music industry than her husband Jackson. Jackson was deep in his addiction and was concerned about the industry changing Ally, but instead of expressing concern, he expressed anger. But in the previous versions of A Star is Born, the men became jealous of their spouse’s success and started petty, degrading arguments. Most marriages where the wife is earning more than their husband results in divorce. This isn’t because men are sexist, but because they’re taught to be the primary breadwinners in a household. The increase of equality for women allows women to climb up the success ladder, and men need to understand not to be angry or jealous of it. A man is not any less of a man because their wife is earning more. Income does not determine worth.

  1. Take risks, find your voice & remain true to yourself

The central focus around A Star is Born is watching Ally turn into a successful artist in the music industry. In the beginning, Ally is not confident in her musical abilities because people within the industry didn’t care for her appearance. When she meets Jackson, he shares with her that having a message and finding a way for others to listen to her expression surpasses talent. However, she has to leave what is comfortable in order to do so. Later, he encourages her to take risks by bringing her to his concert to sing with him. After this, she becomes noticed and her career takes off. Her manager begins to try to mold her into the “popstar image.” Although she does lose her identity, she later finds herself. The last scene in the movie is Ally practicing Jackson’s words. She digs down deep within herself to share her truth to the world. This is when the star within her is born.

Ultimately, A Star is Born inspires people to discover and realize the power of their voice while remaining true to themselves. Once an individual has this revelation and leaves their comfort zone, the hidden star within begins to shine fervently for the world to see.

Look, talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that’s a whole other bag. And unless you get out and you try to do it, you’ll never know.”-Jackson Maine (A Star is Born)

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Below is a link for suicide warning education. It’s imperative that everyone becomes educated so people’s lives can be saved: