The rating for A Star is Born has been amended in New Zealand after Chief Censor David Shanks reportedly received complaints from health providers and the Mental Health Foundation over a pivotal scene in the film.
According to a series of tweets from the country’s Office of Film & Lit Classification, “Thanks to public feedback we’ve updated the descriptive note for #AStarIsBorn to include a warning for suicide. The depiction is subtle but emotionally arresting.”
The film is now classified as “M” for “sex scenes, offensive language, drug use & suicide.”
The movie did not originally have a suicide classification from the OFLC when it was released in NZ. Responding to a fan of the film who complained that the new warning spoiled the film, the OFLC noted that “we’ve had a number of people contact us because they WEREN’T warned, and were unexpectedly traumatised watching the film after recent bereavements to suicide.”
A recent report revealed that the suicide rate in NZ is the highest since records began being kept, with 668 dying in the past year, the fourth year in a row the number has increased.
According to a report in Stuff, Shanks said, “the first complaint involved Police Victim Support advising that they responded to two vulnerable young people who had been severely triggered by the scene,” adding that because “many people in New Zealand have been impacted by suicide… for those who have lost someone close to them, a warning gives them a chance to make an informed choice about watching.”
The nation’s Mental Health Foundation also weighed in on Facebook, writing “we have heard some viewers were extremely distressed after watching this movie and have needed to access professional support.”
Thanks to public feedback we’ve updated the descriptive note for #AStarIsBorn to include a warning for suicide. The depiction is subtle but emotionally arresting. The film is classified M ‘Sex Scenes, Offensive Language, Drug Use & Suicide’ pic.twitter.com/uijfz5CpEQ
— Office of Film & Lit Classification (@NZOFLC) October 19, 2018