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A Star Is Born Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 12+

Award-winning musical tragedy with alcoholism at its core.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this award-winning musical has a serious story about alcoholism at its core. While the film depicts the wondrous rise to stardom of a talented, earnest young woman, it also shows the decline and ultimate tragedy of her self-destructive husband and mentor. It's about alcoholism and the deadly results of one man's addiction. Instances of drunkenness are plentiful and, given the time period in which the characters live, there is frequent smoking.

  • Families can talk about the differences in treatment for alcoholism in 1954 and today. Do you think Alcoholics Anonymous, Al Anon, or other programs would have helped Norman and Esther? Are you aware of the resources in your community for substance abusers and/or their families?
  • Think about how the art of acting has changed over the years since this movie was made. What are some of the most obvious differences between Academy Award-nominated performances then and now?
  • What motivated Norman Maine's final decision? How might he have resolved his dilemma in a different way?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The movie supports the idea that without the right treatment and behavioral changes, alcoholism can be a deadly condition. Loved ones, as well as the alcoholic himself or herself, need guidance and inspiration to overcome the harmful effects of the addiction ("Love is not enough"). The film reinforces the concept that show business can be a demanding and unforgiving career.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The loving, but naive wife of an alcoholic gives it her all in efforts to save her husband's career, his self-esteem, and his will to live.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: One very brief fist fight.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Lots of loving kisses between a husband and wife.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: One leading character is an alcoholic who struggles with his addiction. It ultimately costs him his career and his reputation. Many characters drink in social situations. Set in the early 1950s, smoking is pervasive.