I’m Sorry, I Can’t See Movies With You Anymore

Last night, I got dumped.

Not like that.

I went to see The Woman In Black with a girl I work with after we finished for the evening. It was all going well – we lined up for popcorn before deciding against it at the last minute, got in for the last trailer to get settled and the seats we had were pretty good. The movie started and we were thrown in.

All around me in the cinema, people were jumping, shrieking, laughing nervously. I must admit I did jump once or twice – it was sufficiently creepy and frightening in the second act. I thought the acting in the beginning from Dan Rad could’ve been stronger and I think the writing toward the end could’ve been a lot tighter to give the film it’s final punch (I know it’s based on a stage play and I haven’t seen it so I’m not sure if it’s the same ending, but films and plays are slightly different beasts). But none of that bothered the people in the cinema around me.

I did leave feeling slightly dissatisfied, the ending wasn’t quite as strong as I thought it could’ve been. And when my friend asked me what I thought of the film, I shrugged and said ‘I didn’t really understand why she was doing it.’ My friend looked at me and then proceeded to try and justify the wonky motive of the Woman in Black, with me then pointing out plotholes and flaws in her argument. I then made a comment on how Dan Rad needed to have a moment with his onscreen son at the beginning to really cement the relationship for the audience and she pointed out (rightfully) that in Victorian times, it would’ve been very stoic like that. I agreed, but as the character hadn’t been completely stoic in the scenes beforehand with his son, the consistency of character wasn’t quite there.

She fell silent and I knew that we’d probably never go to the cinema together again. The silence between us was suddenly filled with the words I knew she wanted to say:

‘I’m sorry, I can’t see movies with you anymore.’

It’s a symptom of working in filmmaking. For me, it’s an instinct now. My sister hates it too, she begs me not to ruin things after we see them so that my critiques after we watch something get whittled down to ‘Hated it’, ‘That was okay’ or ‘<insert quotable line from film here because it’s AWESOME>’. I think I’m especially bad at the moment because I’ve been actively watching films and reading scripts for research for the past three weeks. I’m used to breaking things down into first, second and third acts, analysing the story beats, the second act turning points and if they place enough at stake, why I’m reacting the way I’m reacting (or why I’m not), the moments I like, how that moment could’ve been stronger…

I love doing it. I really enjoy figuring out what works and what doesn’t. The thing is that when I do it out loud, people don’t tend to enjoy it as much as I do. The only way to fix this is to either never see movies with anyone ever again or find someone who doesn’t mind me groaning at bad dialogue, protesting weak plot points or grinning like a maniac at a well executed story beat.

Anyone else have this problem?

More importantly, anyone want to go and see Red Dog with me next week?