A Star Is Born: An In-Depth Analysis of the Film's Message
One last spoiler warning for readers - this is an in-depth analysis of the ending of A Star is Born. If you want to avoid spoilers, leave now and come back once you've seen the film. If you're looking for my review, click here. For everyone else, let's begin.
So, as A Star is Born ends, we see Ally's manager talking to Jack. Her manager tells Jack that he was an embarrassment and Ally actually resented and hated him but was just too nice to say so. This leads to Jack saying he'd meet Ally at her show but instead locking himself in the garage and hanging himself. Ally performs a song in Jack's memory. Roll credits. Now, sure, it's sad to see Jack in so much emotional turmoil that he feels there's no other option, but there's something deeper going on here. Yes, Ally did lie to Jack, but it wasn't because she resented or hated him. She knew how troubled his life was so she did what she thought was right. She lied about why she wanted to cancel the rest of her tour. She wanted to stay and care for Jack because she loved and cared for him. Her manager was an arrogant jackass when he said those things to Jack. He wasn't worried about Ally's career; he was worried about his own pockets. I almost think the manager hoped Jack would commit suicide or, at the very least, leave Ally. The most heartbreaking part of all this is the fact that the selfish manager probably never will step forward and admit what he said to Jack. Ally will most likely go through the rest of her life feeling like Jack's death was in some way her fault.On top of that, Jack died thinking Ally hated him.
Jack's brother Bobby has always blamed Jack for his own problems and, even after Jack's death, Bobby continued that streak. Bobby harbored anger and even some hate towards Jack because of how successful Jack had become. Bobby had been trying most of his life to make his break in music and ended up being other artists' gopher. When Bobby comforts Ally, he says "This ain't your fault, it ain't anyone's fault. This is Jack's fault." He knew how their father treated him and Jack. He knew how hard of a time Jack was having, struggling with alcoholism and drugs. Still, in the end, Bobby will always blame Jack instead of coming to the realization that Jack was just as tortured as Bobby was.
The song Ally sings in Jack's memory, I'll Never Love Again, expresses a double meaning. When Jack wrote it, he was almost telling Ally goodbye. Remember when Ally found it and showed it to him when she was visiting him in rehab? Jack said "I figured you'd find it when it came back to you." In other words, he may have wanted to kill himself after embarrassing Ally at the Grammy's. Then, later on, Jack tells his counselor a story about how he attempted suicide when he was younger but his dad was too drunk to care. This implies that Jack may have always been suicidal and hurting Ally was the last straw. The second meaning the song has is the fact that Ally was so deeply in love with Jack that she knew she would never love anyone as much as she loved him. Maybe she continued her career single, maybe she quit and lived out her life in silent loneliness, or maybe she took her own life too. What do you guys think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
The message the film leaves us with is that we need to cherish those around us, speak kindly, love loudly, and never leave anything unsaid. No one knows how long our loved ones will be in our lives so always express your love, be truthful and open. Leave no regrets. One of the most painful things is the inability to correct your wrong or say you're sorry because your loved one is no longer living. Living with guilt is one of the heaviest burdens in the world and it can drive one insane.
In the theater I was in, a man actually booed the film, calling it a "sell out". Now, I looked up the definition of 'sell-out' just to be clear what he was accusing the film of being. Selling Out is basically saying that you give up your morals and principles for personal gain, such as money. I have thought and pondered and puzzled, and I just can't think of a way this film is in any way a sell-out. It showed consequences to actions, gave the audience an engaging and emotionally philosophical masterpiece, and, finally, the sad truth of stardom. Once again, let me know in the comments what your thoughts are.
One last thing I wanted to touch on is this - if you're struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone. Even if you think you don't deserve help, talk to someone. Depression twists thoughts and minds and makes us believe we're worthless. You're not worthless. You're loved by someone. If you feel like you can't talk to anyone, message me. I'll more than happily talk with you. I'm not licensed by any means but just being able to get things off your mind can help.
© 2018 Nathan Jasper