I’d been fascinated for some time as to why the movie A Star is Born has captured the public imagination the way it has, not just on screen but off it in all the long-running rumours about leading actors Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s much wished-for romance. Not only that but the storyline, with the same title, has been made into a movie an unprecendented four times since 1937 (five if you count the 1932 fledgling version of a different name), each version emerging as a more evolved stage in the metamorphoses of itself. This is worthy of attention because the time span of those films covers a momentous period in the evolution of our species and the relationship between two of my favourite things to talk about…our “divine” or “intrinsic” (that is to say, intact) masculine and feminine qualities and the way they relate to each other as they find their way back together in wholeness.
I have to admit, the first time I watched the 2018 film at the end of last year, I was really captivated too; to an extent I wasn’t sure whether my degree of enamorment was to do with the flu I was getting over at the time or if the film really held that degree of charge (I’m not normally one for “mainstream” or overly “romantic” genres).
Having re-watched it this week, I can categorically say that it does hold some sort of especial magnetism for me, like I am being invited to plunge deeper than the surface of it (and so I have). I’ve found myself down a rabbit hole, deep-diving the music of the film, the back stories and popular culture around it (youtube videos, talk show conversations, the dynamic between lead players Gaga and Cooper, etc) and equally curious at my own a-typical behaviour; what was it about this film that had me delving so deep? Waking this morning, I realised so clearly what I sense this quality is that is drawing people in to a media vortex, even causing them to heckle and chant for Gaga and Cooper to “get it together” in real life in order to write a different ending to the one in the movie (WARNING: I can’t write this post without spoilers!).
So, THIS is its compelling force, in my view: its a fairy tale for our times, the very story of where we are poised right now, as masculine and feminine, at the beginning of the 21st century and the new version of the film takes this to a new and entirely relevant level of exploration. This is why the story took several attempts to emerge from the 1930s (a key point in the arrival of the eighth wave of evolution) onwards…..it was birthing, becoming clearer, grittier, more shocking yet more truthful in its stark conclusion each time. So this newer version simply couldn’t happen until right now as it has something to tell us about ourselves that is necessarily brutal and no-holds-barred yet the fact it has been told before, in softer forms, is part of that message since we have been on a fast-track towards this point, like a car hurtling towards a crash wall, for the last several decades. The evolution of that crash (or the so-called tragic ending of this film…told more starkly with each filming) is important and, in that sense, is no accident, seen within an evolutionary context. You get the sense this story really wanted to be told rigth now; and the fact particular directors and actors (in this case, Cooper on both counts) picked up the baton is almost incidental though, because it’s been delivered so compellingly, fortuitous. You could say, the story almost has a life of its own…
No era is without its fairytales, it s cultural stories that emerge, ones which get to the very bones of what is being worked out at the very heart of those times. Don’t think of fairy tales as children’s stories in this context; they are deep and profound…and unfailingly truthful. Einstein once said “if you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy stories; and if you want them to be brighter still, read them more fairy stories”. Disney has had a field-day with this and yet, we have to question now, are these stories really as static and universal as we have told ourselves; are they really on repeat (in the sense that it could be said “there are really no new stories”) anymore? Well, probably not when a paradigm is about to take a giant leap.
So what have we got here? What does A Star is Born capture on the screen, for all to identify with though they may not see it so clearly in their own lives? Well, we have Jackson “Jack” Maine, the world-weary male…broken, staggering, a child in a man’s body, longing to be tender but with no obvious way out of his self-made hell. His world is quite devoid of the feminine aspect at the beginning and he has become the disillusioned, worn-out and emotionally tortured alcoholic. “I don’t want to go home” he tells his driver, right before he discovers Ally in a transvestite bar (I’ll come back to the importance of that small detail in a while) and, a little later in the plot, he thanks Ally for creating the first home he has ever had…the broken masculine has come home to the feminine; isn’t that the universal story we all know so well? Yet that old story wasn’t ever, really, the ending…it was just the beginning, the promise of still more to come.
For Jack, being so hung-up on the past, it still wasn’t going to be sustainable in this lifetime. (HERE COMES THE SPOILER) in taking his own life, he forsakes the chance to “return home” within this lifetime (as opposed to finding home by leaving behind all the pain of life…which is what suicide is). We are left to speculate that he and Ally can now only ever be reunited on some other plane, in a song or an afterlife; that she will never forsake him (cue song “I’ll never love again”) but that this has become an impossible love to sustain in “real life”.
This is the human lot we have been sold for so long, yes? It’s what we have been told a zillion times before…a very old story; one that became the prolonged wail of just so many song and movie endings throughout the 20th century and long before those mediums became so accessible. You could say, its been drummed into us. The masculine and feminine were, apparently, never destined to get it together in this physical space…all too far fetched, it doesn’t exist in “real life”, is what we are repeatedly told. Yet, isn’t it interesting how, in clamouring for the two actors in this story (who have gone to some lengths to demonstrate the same magic chemistry off-screen, as part of the marketing for the film) the public are demanding a different ending now, making newspaper headlines? In this sense, Cooper has done something interesting for these times; he has engaged the public in a virtual reality campaign for the masculine and feminine to reunite; a sort of “vote” button for how the ending unfolds which, whether or not he and Gaga get it together in real life, is already doing its energetic work “out there” in the quantum ether where aspirations manifest into reality.
Meanwhile, back to the film, Ally is clearly a goddess…right from the very beginning…if a displaced one, like Cinderella working in a kitchen. And like Snow White, she has her little followers, eager to cheer her on, skip work and make leaps of faith with her, press their noses to the screen as she makes her first big breakthrough and of course she never relinquishes them, not even when fame and money come along. Yet displaced she is….at the start. Like a fairy princess held prisoner in some sort of dystopian nightmare, her talents go unappreciated except by her tranny “family” and she is destined to a life of emptying garbage…or so it seems. This is our broken world of the longest time, with its displaced divine feminine aspect, appreciated only for her domestic abilities while her real gifts go uncelebrated…or at least that is where we have been, until now.
So, along comes Jack on his charger (in this case, a limo), bearing his battle scars yet still capable of tenderness because he is just so broken and, in his way, he provides the missing element to the wilting feminine aspect which, for the moment, is like a bean sprout with no support to climb up. He offers her the means, the structure, the exposure to make something of her talent…since these are masculine qualities, the ones that make things happen in a dominantly material world…and so she gains her audience and makes a career that takes off at breakneck speed. Because, after all, the world has been waiting for the divine feminine for a very long time and is just so hungry to hear her voice.
Unfortunately, Jack is too broken to sustain her, or any of this, for very long. Though they have flashes of meeting in the middle, he carries too many wounds from far too many years of living out the long long story of the distorted masculine (violence, booze, a childhood being trained to disregard his emotions, an almost total lack of an appropriate masculine role model and the total absence of a mother figure). These are typical stories out there in broken-masculine land and its a miracle he is as responsive to a goddess as he is when he first encounters Ally, but something in his very brokenness enables him to see her fuzzy glow through the darkness. His brokenness, in this sense, is his gift since it opens him up and makes him receptive to what he needs most.
This is important…because its the very point that we are at right now, in our world, where the masculine aspect is so broken that that it looks like it is wasted and hanging on by a fibre. Whether we talk about individuals or the general state of our world, this is the universal state of play for the masculine qualities of our world and they could look “done for” except, in their brokenness, they start to be receptive to what they really need the most now, in order to make themselves whole again. In that fragile state, they gravitate towards the light of another Ally and the union is made possible…and can be nurtured in real life, though it makes for a less dramatic film plot to show this in action.
In showing this need, the masculine attracts the attention of the feminine which, by its very nature, will be receptive to that openness and flood the space with healing. No blame, no retribution, no fingers pointed…just, simply, balm, balance and love by the spade load.
Just as Ally takes Jack “home” with her, creating that very home out of the feelings of love she puts into it, complete with a cute dog, a piano and a veritable forest outside the door; a refuge from the world. So here, in 21st century format, is the story of Maximus and Elen from the ancient Mabinogion (the earliest recorded prose stories in Britain) all over again. In that version, the world-weary Roman emperor seeks out his goddess-princess Elen…finding her in a remote forest, having sent his envoys far and wide looking for her after a dream in which they met (Bradley sends his chauffeur for Ally…) and, when he finally finds her in that place, its like coming back to the Home of all Homes for him, and for her. All of nature delights in their union and the fountains start to spring…no less do our hearts spring as we watch their union on the big screen in this 21st century version.
So why the unhappy ending, the big cut off point where Jack deems it necessary to take his own life to enable hers? Just as Maximus gets drawn back to Rome, to take care of some of the messy business hung-over from his old life…So, is this still the same-old story where the masculine and feminine are destined only to have the briefest of perfect encounters in this world and then part again? Are we really stuck in this same old ending, where the three-dimensional world is fatally fragmented and our union a dream saved for another place?
Well, yes we are, just so long as we keep looking with our three-dimensional eyes, taking in the story in this defunct old way.
When we open up and look with other eyes; fifth dimensional “eyes”, we see something different happen; or, rather, we feel it. We notice, for instance, how Ally incorporates both masculine and feminine qualities right from the very start (her affiliation with a transvestite club is a clue); in fact, she is almost androgynous in her appeal…no less is Gaga in her real life persona, which is why she was so perfect for the role. As Jack and her get it together, she only becomes stronger…not because she lacked anything on the inside but because she lacked the outward mechanisms to make anything of her feminine qualities as the world currently is, which is dominantly male in its materialistic approach to everything, art and music included. As I know only too well, to make it in these times, you need far more than artistic ability and the desire to be heard; you need money and a marketing machine and Jack gives her that because, for him, that side of things is easy, being second nature.
On the inside, she lacks nothing and, from her union with Jack, she gains one very important thing…she starts to believe in that. So, by the very end, in her new solo-status as the bereaved widow, this sad ending is almost belied by how complete Ally seems as she sings her final song….a tour de force and stronger-seeming than she is at any other point in the plot line, being no longer dragged down by the wounds of broken masculine. She has now incorporated both divine masculine and feminine qualities into herself, as herself, in a physical three-dimensional sense as well as in her essence, becoming more whole and capable than ever. THIS is the true story of our times and its not even about exploring androgyny or broader sexual preferences….though these can become optional subplots for some people along the way…but about becoming unified and whole WITHIN OURSELVES at our very essence, within the core of our very cells or, you could say, in the energy field that we embody.
So where does this message leave the man; is he now obsolete? Only in this story (and, remember, this is a story). Remember, too, that divine masculine and feminine have nothing whatever to do with gender, except that we have stereotyped them that way, which is a sizeable part of what we are here to now heal. It also helps with the telling of “the story”. Sometimes we need the extreme to be enacted before our very eyes before we start to get something profound about ourselves. In real life, we can become that whole, as ourselves, and still choose to be in relationship with someone else…and all the stronger, together, for that personal wholeness. The one does not make obsolete the other; nor do we need that other person to come along to complete us…but, in meeting them, we can sometimes be reminded of skills we carry innately and which are being denied or vastly underused until we, now, realise them.
So, is it any wonder audiences clamour for the off-screen romance between Gaga and Cooper to take place. Caught up in the onscreen storyline that is really their own, projected outwards, they see all too clearly the fragmented state of our world and how heartbreaking it is so they long for the grand reunion that would make everything feel whole again; of course they do. Really, they could now look to their own lives…and to themselves…rather than obsessing about the film and maybe many of them will get there, never consciously making the connection from one to the other. The film serves as a bridge for their subconscious awareness and they can work out that different ending on the inside…just maybe.
I confess, I find Gaga such a fascinating creature the more I look into her, which I never really did before, so to gain the summary at this point in her career is to witness the emergence of a character that is very-much “of” these evolutionary times. There are barely two pictures of her where she seems like the same person and this chameleon-like ability is an extreme outward projection of times in which we are collectively playing with all the possibilities of all we have ever been and ever could be. In presenting herself thus, which is as a sort of multi-diversity (or multiverse) in her exaggerated public persona, she is firing all our imaginations and reminding us that we, too, have every possibility at our fingertips…and can reinvent ourselves as often as we like. Unsurprisingly, her love-life seems to be equally flux and yet the sense I get is that she is far too complete, in and of herself, for any “old style” male to get close to without getting his ego burned; so it will take quite a different kind of masculinity, one which is as whole as she is, to meet her in this state of balance….individually and together.
This multiversity thing (my new word…a bit like university, only more accepting of paradox) is another evolutionary thing in our times. In my own small way, I’ve never been harder to label either…whether in my tastes, my interests or my personas, which is not to say I’m fickle but that I won’t be pinned down anymore. The way the public interest in this film is spilling out over the edges into the personal lives of these actors is another interesting trend since, in their minds, they are morphing reality into fiction and back again so fast now that they literally start to blend…an oscillation that whips into creation a whole new layer of potential since it unleashes the imagination from its age-old prison cell of what is so called “real” and what is not.
As the old-and-very-broken masculine aspect, worn out from repeatedly wounding himself, disappears from left stage to make room for something far more in balanced (yes, in a female body) to emerge by popular demand, a new form of male will also start to emerge from all these new influences we are generating in our popular culture. A transition phase, where even men are allowed to cry and to get embroiled in all the emotions around the old story (as I am noticing happen around this film, which has captured a male as well as a female audience) is a good start because it makes it alright for men to weep over the way things have been (which is to allow their own feminine aspect to be heard, not suppressed)…and then to stand up ready to aspire to something different. Interesting times and an oddly compelling film, which is a far leap from my usual topics, so I just had to share. To me, this is yet another sign that we are becoming so ripe for a new ending to a very old story; and we are it, writing it as our own lives.