“Oh, he’s the bad guy,” said someone behind me last night, in a conversational tone (not a whisper), midway through a crowded screening of a movie I won’t name. Really, Lady Behind Me? You couldn’t keep that to yourself, just in case somebody around you likes to watch the movie as it unfolds and not jump ahead to the ending? You didn’t realize that you weren’t sitting in your living room, offering a play-by-play, but joining a group of strangers for a shared experience — which means being considerate of those around you?
Sigh. Yesterday I also went to the first of many press screenings for the Seattle International Film Festival (which are attended not just by members of the press, but by the festival’s many full-series passholders), and before the movie began, a staffer gave a little speech. Respond to the movie, he said, however it moves you — laughing, gasping, crying, cheering, wherever your emotions lead. But remember, he said, “words coming out of your mouth are talking.” And talking during the movie isn’t OK. It’s hard to get lost in a movie — and isn’t that why we go? — when the person behind you is, through words, leading you firmly back to reality.