I went to two movies in London. It probably seems strange that I took time out of my London trip to sit inside, in the dark, for a couple of hours. I hear you. But I do adore movies and the chance to see one in a theater comes rarely these days. Plus, the movie-going experience in London is different enough to qualify as a cultural experience:
- At the ticket booth, you have two price levels to choose from: regular and premium (better, more comfy seats in better locations). Kind of first class for movie theaters. We never splurge for first class airline seats and didn't here either but at least there isn't a curtain separating the wheat from the chaff and the good seats don't turn into beds.
- Then, when you receive your ticket stub it actually has a row and seat number on it. You enter the screening room, an usher takes you to your assigned seat. So, there were maybe 40 people in this huge theater and they still had us sit all bunched together and in front of each other. I couldn't figure out why. Were they trying to improve our moviegoing experience by having fellow viewers to laugh and cry with? Did it just not occur to the ticket booth person that putting everyone on two rows would be annoying to everyone, that you might not want to look at the back of someone's head? Funny.
- Even the rating system is different. The US has G, PG, PG13, and R. In the UK ratings they have U (universal), PG, and the rest have numbers indicating the minimum age requirement to see it (12, 15, 18, and R18). This makes more sense to me and gives the system the ability to be more nuanced in its ratings.
p.s. We went to the new (to us) German movie The Counterfeiters.
It's based on the true experiences of a group of Jewish prisoners in a concentration camp who are forced by their Nazi jailers to develop counterfeit versions of the British pound and the American dollar. In exchange, their living situations are better (soft beds, food, clean clothes, regular showers (not of the gas variety)) than the rest of the prisoners, which leads to a range of complicating emotions--relief, guilt, the clash of personal ethics and the drive for survival. It's powerful--we really recommend it (as long as you're in the mood for powerful and heavy).