I was at the movie theatre one night, on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, when Dame Judi Dench was in the middle of a long pause, about to utter with masterful precision the words that will earn her next Academy Award nomination… when I was suddenly blinded by a bright blue screen, from the idiot in front of me, checking her phone.
Needless to say, I was devastated to have been dragged out of the precious moment where I completely escaped my own life, to live vicariously through the characters of this cinematic masterpiece. I felt robbed.
I leaned over and whispered sternly, “That’s very distracting!” The idiot turned back and gave me a glare like she was the offended one.
Are you kidding me?
After she turned around, I offered her my look of scorn and severe disdain with one eyebrow raised and one lowered, accompanied by a middle-finger salute, a gesture I reserve for the rare few who crack through my calm exterior and get my blood instantly boiling. With that done, I was able to let it go and reconnect with the movie.
I don’t know why but lately, it seems that every visit to a theatre has at least one person checking their phone during the movie which is completely unfair to the rest of the movie patrons.
A movie theatre is a place where people go to escape from day-to-day reality. It’s a place to forget one’s troubles, to get inspired and to be taken away to a different world.
For some people, that movie may be a precious refuge from a busy life, a stressful time, a difficult journey or a break from dealing with difficult people or circumstances.
With the price of movie tickets and concession stand offerings, a night at the movies is a significant investment. Why do people feel that their need to check their phone (for whatever reason) is somehow of greater importance than the enjoyment of a movie by 100 to 200 spectators?
Isn’t the point of going to the movies to disconnect for a couple of hours?
I truly wish people would take a step back and realize that they are not in their living rooms. They are in public where courtesy and consideration for others should be a priority. I fear that smart phones are having the opposite effect.
Every movie starts with a reminder to turn off cell phones. What part of that simple message are people not getting?
If they absolutely must stay connected during a movie there are ways of doing it discreetly:
– Turn down the brightness of the screen;
– Put the phone on vibrate;
– When there is a message that absolutely requires a response, step out of the theatre and respond in the hallway.
It’s really not that difficult to stay in touch without advertising it to the entire movie theatre and spoiling everyone’s evening.
The glare of the extra bright screen is not only jarring but it is a huge irritation, as much as the people who seem to have something to say throughout the movie as well as the notorious seat kickers.
It really concerns me that smart phone etiquette continues to slip through the cracks of society. I fear a continuing path where basic common sense, courtesy, respect and good manners are seemingly going out of style.
Maybe it is time for movie theatres to crank up the awareness campaigns and to more rigorously enforce their policy regarding cell phones. It is sad that we have to go there, but if the message isn’t getting through, measures need to be taken to preserve the sanctuary and serenity of the cinema.
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