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[This story contains a major spoiler from A Star Is Born]
A Star Is Born has had its rating reclassified in New Zealand after complaints from the public and health care providers that a suicide in the film had triggered two vulnerable young people during its first week of release.
The film was originally automatically classified with an M-rating — which usually carries the descriptor “Recommended for mature audiences” — after receiving the same classification in Australia and carried a descriptive note “Sex scenes, offensive language and drug use.”
Following the complaints, New Zealand’s chief censor required that the warning note be updated to include “suicide.” The film is now rated M, with a classification that reads: “Sex scenes, offensive language, drug use and suicide.”
In a statement, NZ’s Office of Film and Literature Classification said the first complaint involved Police Victim Support advising that it responded to two vulnerable young people who had been severely triggered by the scene.
“The Mental Health Foundation also informed us of a number of complaints,” the statement added.
The method of suicide used in A Star Is Born is the most common method of suicide in New Zealand.
Chief censor David Shanks said that although A Star Is Born handles the topic relatively sensitively, the OFLC felt it was in the best interest of the NZ public to add a warning, particularly considering NZ’s appalling suicide rate.
“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,” Shaks said.
“We avoid unnecessary ‘spoilers,’ but properly informing the viewing public is our primary concern,” he added.
Warner Bros. and Roadshow Films jointly distribute A Star Is Born in Australia and NZ, where it opened Oct. 18.
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