Ten annoying breaches of cinema etiquette

Cinema goers Image copyright Thinkstock

A discussion about cinema etiquette on BBC Radio 5 live's Film Review struck a nerve with movie-going listeners. It seems there are some things that simply shouldn't be done while watching a film, says Vanessa Barford.

Bad behaviour at cinemas has reached a "new low", the BBC's Simon Mayo said on Friday.

The incident that got the presenter's back up? A woman looking at her phone. But this wasn't a quick glance to check messages - which would be enough to rile some for creating a distraction or light pollution.

"She had an app on her phone which turned it into a mirror," Mayo told listeners. "Then using the torch on her friend's phone, she used the mirror to do her make-up."

While this might seem like a slightly unusual occurrence, for Mark Kermode the mobile phone and the cinema do not mix. Full stop.

"The other day a woman got out one of the biggest phones I've ever seen in my life... you could see what she was doing. It wasn't urgent stuff like texts or emails, she was just having a bit of a google," he says.

The film critic duo's 2010 Code of Conduct for Moviegoers brings up some of their other biggest bugbears.

"No eating of anything harder than a soft roll with no filling - no one wants to hear you crunch or chew," is one. Slurping of drinks, rustling and foraging fall into a similar category.

Arriving late, putting your feet on someone else's seat and taking off your shoes are also a faux pas. So is talking and "irresponsible parenting".

"Your five-year-old does not want to come to see the latest 12A certificate: you are using the cinema as a babysitter," they say.

Of course it depends which film parents choose for a family outing. Some screenings are actively promoted as child-friendly.

Critics have also lamented the rise of the cinema picnic.

Some cinemas have tried to tackle unsociable behaviour. The UK's largest arthouse chain, Picturehouse Cinemas, trialled banning popcorn at one of its venues. Vue offers child-free cinema going. And most screenings begin with a "turn off your phone" message.

But there will always be those that don't listen. Or take any note of this.

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