Quit Your Jibber Jabber In The Cinema!

UK Cinema-Going

Quit Your Jibber Jabber In The Cinema!: Most cinema lovers have been in this situation, I’m sure. You’re in the dark, people have been talking all the way through the trailers (even through the latest Marvel trail, what the flip), but you let it slide, because soon the main feature will be on, and people will want to concentrate and be excited to watch the film.

Then, the BBFC certificate draws in to focus, and there are still a few people giggling. You’re a bit miffed, because that certificate is setting the scene of ‘quiet time’.

Then, the logos start fading onto the screen, and the person behind you turns to their mate and says “you wanna go to Nandos after this” and you’re screaming in your head “if this person doesn’t shut up by the time all the logos have passed by and the title has flashed up, I’m going to give them a piece of my mind!”. But then, you decide not to, because you causing a fight would be even worse for everyone else than them muttering.

But then, they don’t stop, they talk all the way through, not even keeping it to the loud bits. Every scene has an underbedding of murmur and laughs and rustle, and it’s not until right in the third act that you conjure your inner lion and shout (as an example) “are you even going to ruin Iron Man’s death scene with your opinions, really?!”.

Then, the murmur stops, for a moment, with a soft whisper… but then, after the initial shock of being told of, it starts up again, and as the credits roll, you’re sat there with a face of thunder whilst the talkers jauntily wonder out of the cinema, not caring or realising that they completely ruined your cinema experience. 

I remember an occasion recently where I went to my local and watched the anniversary of Alien on the big screen. “Only cinephiles will be at this screening, and I can enjoy this slow burn epic of a film in peace”, I thought. Throughout the entire film, an Italian couple were sat next to me. Now, before you stamp Brexit on this article, hear my story.

They talked throughout the ENTIRE movie. Through all the silent, steadicam shots throughout the ships, the bit where Jonesy is exploring the ship, dodging the Alien. The bit before that infamous chest buster scene. The whole thing! And why? So that one of them could give the other one who spoke less English a running directors commentary in Italian. And, what did I do? I just kept throwing dirty looks. I didn’t complain. I didn’t say anything, I just let it bother me throughout the entire epic run time that film has. 

Another recent time, I went to a premiere screening of JoJo Rabbit at my local film festival. “Wonderful”, I thought, “a film festival where people love film so will be quiet and react only when there’s a laugh or a cry to be had”. I was sat on the front row, next to a middle age couple. Immediately, I knew they would be trouble.

The husband kept getting out his phone and was as quietly as his big posh voice could manage trying to arrange their dinner plans through a WhatsApp conversation for the first 10 minutes of the film. Then, Rebel Wilson comes on screen “OH” the posh wife exclaims “It’s that Australian actress”. “Mmm yes” replies the husband.

A continuation of the after-film dinner plans ensues through the husband’s phone; the wife continuously complains that being on the front row is no good for her neck; the husband then gets out a posh bar of chocolate and tries to whisper whilst chomping away. By the end of the film, I was left flabbergasted that anyone would try and arrange a Whatsapp dinner plan through a Taika Waititi film, or any film, and have to exclaim surprise every time a Nazi salute was exclaimed, to they saw an actor they recognised.

But did I say anything? No! I sat there, like a weird martyr, giving occasional dirty looks. I think this particular time was worse than the time I sat next to a Stormzy wannabe during Batman V Superman, who farted so loudly next to me, then answered his phone, to not only explain he was at the cinema, but that he did an epic butt smell. 

My two questions from this rant that I’ve disguised as an article; 1) Why do people, from all backgrounds, races, genders, ages, sexual preferences feel the need to talk through films, and 2) Why do we sit there and take it (or rather, why do I sit there and take it). 

What is the answer? Should cinemas set up ‘quiet screenings’ like they do in trains? Should there be a three strikes rule? Should we just accept that people are just going to talk? Should we just start talking as loudly and hope they’ll realise how annoying it is? I just remembered that time I went to watch Hungarian holocaust emotional rollercoaster Son Of Saul for it’s premiere at Cannes Film Festival, and the dude in front of me was playing tetris throughout the whole thing. Bloody hell society. 

Top answers will receive a telepathic congratulatory cheer from me.

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Filmmaker Grace was born and raised just outside of Oxford in a small town called Woodstock by her single-mother. She spent much of her childhood entertaining herself by singing, playing music and acting out plays and film scenes in her loft and garage.


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