I’ve been waiting five years to take my daughter to her first movie. I love going to movies and I wanted to share the experience of the “big screen” with her. A few weeks ago her teacher announced that they were planning a field trip for her kindergarten class to go see The Lorax – a book that they had been reading in class.
Well, if you’ve read this blog before you may know that our kids don’t watch television. It was a decision we made 5 years ago when we had our first daughter and we just haven’t changed. We do allow a few “special” television viewing opportunities (the Women’s World Cup, anytime the President speaks, etc.), but those are truly special. So, I knew that going to see a movie would be a big deal for her (and for me!).
My husband got called away for the day so I had both kids – which I hadn’t anticipated. I hadn’t expected to take my 3yo to the movies as well – but you do what you have to do. Since I had already made plans to meet a colleague at the theater I didn’t want to back out.
I wanted to make the day special so we started out with pizza and then headed to the theater. The kids were excited and we had some candy as a special treat. The girls got a small popcorn and we headed into the theater about 5 minutes early. The theater was pretty full, but we found seats. Then the previews started and everything started to go downhill.
The Lorax is a PG movie and the selected previews were considered “age appropriate”. But, for my little ones the age appropriate previews were a little much. Frankenweenie – the story of the dead dog that a little boy brings back to life, Madagascar III (which would probably have been fine if they had seen the original) where animals are separated from their parents when the world splits into continents, and some movie about cartoon pirates (I can’t remember the name) that included swords, large fish eating the pirates and some mean looking cartoon characters.
My youngest daughter – the one I was worried about since she had told me that she didn’t want to go to the movie at all the day prior – was fine. She seemed to enjoy the previews. My five year old sat as close as she could to me (my 3yo was in my lap) and grabbed onto my arm. Then the movie started.
The intro was great – cartoon people, a musical number, a kid with a remote control airplane – all things that they could recognize in real life.
But then the young boy met the Once-ler with the booby trapped house and the dark cemetery like cinematography. We got through that, but then the tree got chopped down and the Lorax put the Once-ler on the bed headed to the waterfall. The next thing I knew my five year old was grabbing my arm with tears streaking her face asking to leave. I tried to get her to stay a few more moments, I promised that everything would be ok – that no one would get hurt. It didn’t work. She kept on crying and asked to leave again. We left.
I don’t know how The Lorax ends, I don’t have any spoilers for you. Just some advice.
If you are taking your kid to their first movie you should:
- See the movie first – so that you can prepare your kids for the story plot. The movie wasn’t the same as the book so although I thought we knew the story – we didn’t.
- Show up late – the first 10 minutes were all previews and they scared my kids. I wish I had gotten there early, put our coats on the seats and taken the kids into the hall to run around while the previews were running.
- Show them a movie at home first – we should have broken our no t.v. rule and had them watch a similar type of movie at home first. They would have known what to expect.
- If you have to leave – ask for a refund. I’m sure every theater has a different policy, but the manager at the theater (The Frazer East Whiteland Regal) didn’t blink an eye. He refunded our ticket prices and sent us on our way.
In the end, it will be a while before I get to bring my girls to a movie. I don’t expect we’ll try that again anytime soon. But the time will come and I hope they’ll love movies as much as I do.