There was an older, somewhat heavyish, non-industry woman sitting behind me at last Wednesday night’s screening of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. And when an impressionistic 9/11 conveyance was shown she reacted very emotionally. She moaned, I mean. Then she moaned again when another 9/11 echo came up. And then she cheered and whooped wildly when the filmmakers came out at the end.
EL&IC is going to be a very moving film for a lot of people, I suspect, if this woman is at all representative. And that’s fine. But her presence divided my attention throughout the film. 75% of me watched and listened to EL&IC…cool. But the remaining 25% was dreading the possibility that this woman would make another noise.
People who moan or cry out or coo over dogs during films are anathema to me. I don’t want to know them or talk with them after the film is over, and I damn sure don’t want to sit near them. That also goes for people who laugh too loudly and go “uhm-hmm” when some plot turn or indication happens on-screen, as if to announce “ahh, I understand what’s going on now!” Anyone, in short, who can’t suck it in and keep it together without acting out what they’re feeling.
Unless you’re one of those types who lean forward in their seats and cover their face with their hands and moan very quietly when they’re watching a film they can’t stand — that’s a different thing and in my mind allowable.
People who can’t keep their emotions from spilling out in any arena are infants. I was on a New York-to-Paris flight about ten years ago, and a woman sitting near me moaned in fear when we hit a little turbulence. Two or three people sitting nearby immediately turned and gave her looks that said “for God’s sake…act like an adult!”
I was once driving to LAX with a woman friend just after 9/11, and she cried out when she saw armed U.S. soldiers standing on the approach ramps. Seeing guys standing around with guns is never comforting, but you need to eat that stuff and let it rumble around inside without acting like a two-year-old.
“I just hate people,” a frequent filmgoer complained the other day. “I’m still dealing with the woman next to me during Young Adult who audibly cooed whenever the fucking dog was onscreen, which was a LOT.”