Closed Captions in Movie Theaters

Closed Captions in Movie Theaters are a must!

This afternoon, we drove to a local theater to watch a movie called “Living”; it proved to be a great disappointment. It was disappointing because I caught only 10% of the dialogue, and my wife about 20%.

Why was that?

“The film is an adaptation of Akira Kurosawa‘s dramaIkiru, and derived from Leo Tolstoy‘s novel entitled The Death of Ivan Ilyich. In it, Bill Nighy plays a civil servant forced to reevaluate his life choices after receiving a terminal prognosis in 1950s Britain.” 

 The movie was captivating, and Bill Nighy is an outstanding actor but… the dialogue was almost totally unintelligible. It was so (at least for me) for several reasons. First, this is a British production, and Nighy used a highly accented English/Scottish not familiar to our ears. Secondly, most of the actors spoke intimately, almost in whispers. And finally, even if you understood a few words, you still struggled to understand the whole plot.

Ironically enough, if you ask, the theater provides a clumsy Closed Captions device, but it didn’t fit in the seat’s cup holder, and I could not use it.

Granted, I am hard of hearing, but according to the Center for Hearing and Communication, so are 48 million American adults… Netflix has long understood this predicament and most of its movies have closed captions. If Netflix accomplishes this, I don’t see why it is not done in movie theaters. For many people, closed captions are an absolute must.

Closed captions are a text version of a movie’s spoken words and other key audio elements. Not only do they make movies accessible to those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, but they also help others who struggle to understand the speakers.”

 On a common agreement, unable to follow the plot, we left the theater halfway through the movie. It is only after coming home, and reading the story on my computer, that I understood what the film was trying to show.

 “Living received two Oscar Nominations at the 95th Academy Awards, those being Best Actor for Bill Nighy and Best Adapted Screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro.”

 If you watch the Oscars tonight, you might see Bill Nighy being rewarded for his acting talent in Living.