My friends gave me side-eye when I told them I was seeing A Star Is Born for a second time in theaters, so you can imagine their reactions when screening number eight came around. Yes, you read that correctly: eight. I saw A Star Is Born—last fall’s emotional juggernaut starring Bradley Cooper and Our Lord and Savior, Lady Gaga—eight times in movie theaters, and I have no qualms about it.
For context: I’m a writer who lives in New York City, so excess funds are limited. In no way should I have spent $109.49 on A Star Is Born tickets, but when the urge to watch Gaga sing “La Vie En Rose” at a drag bar kicked in, I caved. Every time. “You’re insane,” my roommate told me when I left for a fourth screening in mid-October, but I was too giddy about the impending performance of “Shallow” to care. By screening number five, it was official: I was off the deep end, and no one wanted to watch me dive in.
Well, one person did: my best friend, whom I’ll call “Blake.” (Just because I’m cool telling the world I sacrificed dinner on several occasions to watch Gaga belt the lyrics “Why’d you come around me with an ass like that?” doesn’t mean he is.) Blake loves Gaga just as much as I do, and six of my eight A Star Is Born screenings were with him. Even after our last viewing together, we said the same thing: “I can’t wait to see this movie again.”
My reasoning for that was twofold. Lady Gaga is up there with my mother in terms of people I care about, so, hypothetically, any movie she made would excite me. Especially one with a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If your favorite singer was suddenly in a buzzy Oscar film that included original songs, you’d empty your bank account too.
But that’s only touching the surface—or shallow, as Gaga’s character, Ally, would say. If Gaga starred in a Bridesmaids sequel, I don’t think it’d have the same arresting effect on me that A Star Is Born did. She got me in the door, but what kept me in was the movie’s cathartic narrative: A weathered country singer (Cooper) takes a promising young talent (Gaga) under his wing, they fall in love, and he crumbles as her fame eclipses his. Their melodramatic romance ends in trauma, and what’s left is a cautionary tale about celebrity, love, and addiction. Mix in the fact Gaga delivers several live music performances throughout the movie, and you have something that put me on the floor.
This catharsis, naturally, led to tears. Lots of them. I cried during “La Vie En Rose.” I cried when Gaga and Cooper sang “Shallow,” and again when she performed “Always Remember Us This Way.” Of course, I cried at the end—who didn’t?—but I also cried when Gaga appeared on screen for the first time. That’s where the movie differed for me. A Star Is Born moved many people, but my adoration for Gaga sent my viewing experience to another stratosphere. The film became more than a form of catharsis but actual rejuvenation, the kind people typically receive from exercise, face masks, or a long soak in the tub.
The way my friends talk about how they feel leaving spa sessions or workouts is basically how I felt after watching A Star Is Born. In my case, though, I put my emotions through the ringer instead of my muscles. When I left that first screening, I felt lighter. My stress was gone. My head was clear. Even my face appeared cleaner. (Does crying help with that? Does Lady Gaga’s voice?) I was exhausted, but in the best way possible. The second the film’s credits started rolling, I knew I had to see it again. That emotional soreness was just too good.
Every screening I took in of A Star Is Born ended like this. I left feeling like my heart had run a half-marathon—and so did my friend, Blake. We started chasing this high together, like friends signing up for joint SoulCycle classes. Each viewing led to the same euphoria, but we always discovered something different about ourselves too. Following one showing, for example, I realized the argument I had the night before with my sister was ridiculous, so I called her and apologized. A Star Is Born literally gave me mental clarity. (A movie about—spoiler alert—someone tragically dying will do that.)
I’ll admit: The judgmental comments I received from loved ones about my new self-care routine stung. A Star Is Born invigorated my soul and mind in ways I can barely describe. That sounds hokey, but it’s the truth. Every trip to the theater was a sacred ritual, and not many people in my life understood that. “Make sure you can pay your rent,” one friend texted me playfully but with some shade. Mind you, this person spends his money on activities I don’t quite understand, either—like sports—but I’ve never judged him for it.
And that’s exactly my point: I don’t splurge on fancy exercise classes or expensive clothes, but I’d never judge someone who does. Everything is fine on my watch so long as it’s not hurting anyone. If you want to drop $100 on a diamond facial, go right ahead. You earned your money. You have every right to spend it exactly how you want—in the way that fuels you the most.
For me, that happened to be eight screenings of A Star Is Born. (Full disclosure: My parents did pay for one of them. Thanks, mom and dad!) This movie was how I reset and recharged for two straight months. It transformed me in the most beautiful way. Thankfully, A Star Is Born hits streaming platforms January 15, so I’ll only have to buy it one more time. But I have zero regrets about how much money I blew on it. You can keep your essential oils and your bath bombs, thank you very much. Just let me keep “Hair Body Face.”
Christopher Rosa is the staff entertainment writer for Glamour.