Wednesday, 3 May 2017


This is a long one, and a little opinionated. I'd love to hear anyone else's perspective once they read this essay. 

Tonight, I did something I thought I would never do; I walked out of a film in the cinema. Not only that, but I walked out of Jordan Peele's critically renowned Get Out.

But there's a story there.

I didn't leave because of anything to do with the film itself. The half hour I saw seemed about as good as everyone has been saying. No, what had me do the unthinkable was the other people in the cinema. Namely, the couples/family who brought in 3 underage kids; one about 4 or 5, and the other two about 2 years of age. And the kids did what kids do; cry, jump around, kick seats, talk loudly, try climb walls. To add to the kids, the adults had no worries about doing their best Mystery Science Theatre 3000 riffs at every line in the film, in between yelling at the kids to settle.

Though they were seated right behind me, there was no seats in this small screening room that would have separated you from the noise. However, you can't exactly blame the kids. It's a part of their nature, and maybe if the film had been a bit more age appropriate, there would have been other kids doing the same and no one batting an eyelid, but Get Out is rated 15A in Irish cinemas, and the crowd that was there was of the expected age bracket; couples on dates, Jordan Peele fans, or people who wanted to see it based on the good word (I'll tick that box). There was a noticeable tension in the room from people unable to concentrate on the film as the little 4 year old scaled seats and yelled back to her dad, or when one of the parents started waving their flashlight on their phone across the room to distract one of the criers. 

I have major sympathy to people with kids. I know it isn't easy, and sometimes you just NEED that bit of your life back, and hey, some kids can sit quietly through a film. Unfortunately, the parents didn't exactly set an example that gave me hope for the kids. I was weary of the whole situation 10 minutes in, but held out with hope for these people as long as I could, regardless of chair kicking and the conversations they carried on.

It wasn't unexpected that someone left to say something to management, nor was it a shock when management came in and had words with the folks. I couldn't hear the whole conversation, but I did catch them saying the kids had been quiet, followed by a manager insisting that people had complained. 

The manager went to make her exit and I could only hope the family would settle, but all hopes of that were dashed when one of the men yelled out 'I'll kick your fucking head in'.

I left very shortly after that, a member of staff apologising, saying the family had been warned going in that they shouldn't be bringing such young children in, and that security were on the way to eject them (presumably after the whole 'kick your head in' yell). 

I have never walked out of a film before, and it pained me to leave this one, because I have been wanting to see Get Out for months, and tonight was the first time the stars aligned for me to be able to. A big decision I had to make before leaving was the knowledge that if I walked out then, I would probably not be seeing Get Out on the big screen. It was a shit one, frankly. My hand literally shook as I got my refund, and I am now just counting the days the film comes out on Vudu (if my proxy allows me to purchase it) or failing that, Bluray/DVD in the UK and Ireland, which is late July, according to Amazon.

More people than not have their horror stories of a poor cinematic audience, and I know this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But for what it is, the cinema is an important experience for a lot of people. I know for me, it is one of the very few places I can fully switch off. No phone, no messages, no work, no notes. I just sit and absorb a film. I can't do that when I watch a film at home. Sure, I can enjoy them, but I can also too easily get a call or text, or get curious about my Facebook, or want to know where I recognise that actor from and need to check it out. There's a reason people still pay for the big screen experience, and there is a sadly vocal minority who don't quite get that or care enough to give others the respect to enjoy it. 

That said, and I in no way have sympathy for that family being eject after the man threatening the manager, I do get itchy about the grey area that allowed such a situation to arise, and how there is nothing that can be done about it, technically.

Meet 15A:

This is the Irish Film Classification Office's mid-level rating. When I first saw the family arrive in the cinema, I thought to myself there was no way they could have been letting children that young into a horror film, but when the film started and the cert came up at the top, it affirmed that it was intended for people of 15 years old and over, BUT people below that age could be admitted if accompanied by an adult. So technically everything was on the up and up, though I highly doubt the intention behind that guideline was for toddlers to be seeing grizzly attacks, scare cues, or  swearing. It would be expected that the adults in the situation would only bring those underage if it was appropriate (which definitely was not the case this evening).

I am slightly divided on this. Tonight, I got the raw end of the deal because I had to walk out of a film when there was no way to be immersed (or even properly follow plot points) owing to the non-cinema appropriate activities going on. However, I don't think that means the rating in and of itself is a bad thing. When I was young, I was very able for horror films (though maybe not at 4 years old!). There are undoubtedly kids out there who would not only enjoy, but have their lives enriched by seeing certain films that might not technically be deemed age appropriate. That's freedom of choice, and a responsibility which should lie with a parent to help decide if their kid can see something like Get Out. 

I don't think the parents tonight had any thoughts of if the film was appropriate for their children. I think they wanted a night out and thought their kids were relatively well behaved. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, they were the kind of moviegoers who can't think of the fellow patrons over their own enjoyment, and everyone tonight was left with a story to bring home from the cinema. 

Sadly, it just wasn't the story of Get Out.

Oh well.

Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!