An Obsession Is Born

“It’s perfect.” “It’s raw.” “It’s addictive.” “It’s heartbreaking.” “It’s beautiful.” “It’s essential.” “It’s alive.”


'A Star Is Born’ appropriately stars two modern icons of entertainment, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The enduring appeal of Hollywood lies in the premise of the film itself – the collision of a music veteran with an up and coming star. Of course, this familiarity adds to the appeal for cinema-goers, but the appeal runs deeper because the unexpected partnership works so beautifully with the story being told. Many people called out the fact that Ally’s character (‘A Star Is Born’s female protagonist) complimented very real elements of Stephanie Germanotta‘s (Lady Gaga) own story and public persona.

It helps too, that stars from both the acting and music world (from Zac Braff to Katy Perry) are proclaiming their love of the film on social media to their engaged followers.

What’s also interesting about ‘A Star Is Born’ is that it’s not new. It’s a remake - the fourth remake, in fact. In its rebirth, it feels like a classic - timeless, and yet timely. Timeless, because of its portrayal of classic themes like the rise to and fall from stardom. It’s timely because it emotionally reflects the social and political rewrite of gender stereotypes. In the film’s feminist subtext, we see the rise of the feminine portrayed so beautifully and poignantly contrasted with the fall of the masculine.


Despite the star-studded cast, there’s something about the emotion and talent portrayed in ‘A Star Is Born’ that just feels different to other tear-jerking box office blockbusters – it's less fairytale, more real and provocative.

We know that young people value things that are real and raw. ‘A Star Is Born’ answers this need in buckets – everything about it feels rooted in something undeniably gritty and honest. Gaga has referenced the ‘nakedness’ of talent that’s evident in the scenes and the film’s been called a ‘cutting insight into so-called ‘authenticity’,’ because, when you dig a little deeper it exposes human truths. These ‘truths’ range from those that define the music industry, to those at the heart of romantic relationships.

“I went going to see something light and relaxing, not knowing anything about it but the movie poster. What I found was a film that was raw, thought provoking and cautionary – it ended in a place I never expected.” Jess, 27.

As much as youth crave a good laugh, it’s evident that they crave a good cry as well. This goosebump-inducing ‘A Star Is Born’ remake comes into its own through intimate rise-and-fall moments between protagonists. This intimacy one of the major reasons why young people can’t get enough.

“I cried so much. I loved it because the acting was so real and honest. I think Bradley as a director is probably to thank for that. I also think the way it portrays the struggle of addiction is so accurate and well done! I could go on forever because I loved it too much...” Jacqueline, 26.

Indulging in emotions through the movie isn’t something young people are hiding. In fact, they are openly reveling in it. So much so is the need to live and relive these emotions, people aren’t just going to see it once. They’re indulging over and over (and over) again, and it’s getting competitive among younger generations (a truly impressive feat for a new release). They’ve gone to see it in the cinema twice, three times – even six times over. “I went twice in a row today and I’m going again on Friday”, said one PopJustice forum user.

If you want to explore some more of the emotional feels young people had about the film, you can explore some of creative memes here.


Both before and after the movie was released, its soundtrack gave youth ways to engage with the story and sustain interest - a tactic making the movie ripe for cult followers to assemble. During the filming, the concert scenes were recorded at real-life festivals and concerts. No doubt this approach added to the rawness of the finished product.

“The music too, of course, was another reason I fell in love with the movie. All the stage scenes were live and filmed at real concerts. I was at the front when he performed at Glastonbury! We went to see Kris Kristofferson and then he introduced Bradley onto the stage and we all went crazy.” Jacqueline, 26.

The film’s soundtrack debuted at number 1 on the Billboard albums chart – giving Gaga her 5th chart topper, and Cooper his first. Not only that, but FIVE of the singles from the album hit the top 100. The addictive star track, ‘Shallow’, shot to number 5 (at the time of writing it has over 46 million streams on Spotify). There’s no doubt that this additional attention around the film has helped it to reign supreme at the box office, while also adding to its youth appeal.

“I went to see it because there was a buzz around it. I didn’t know anything about it going into it. I’d never seen the originals. It just felt like there was a real cultural moment around it – that's what made me go.” Luke, 30.

By giving youth the ability to live on in the film’s universe, the cultural obsession is driven full circle.

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