“Ladies and gentlemen, come and dream with me.” – a tribute to 120 years of watching movies together

Yesterday I saw Jean-Marc Vallee’s Wild (out now in the US, January 22 in Australia), one of my most anticipated films of 2014, at last. As are most of my viewing experiences these days, it was in a cinema with a handful of other critics and writers who are reviewing the film. In my past year or so of attending press screenings, what I’ve found is how crowds differ from film to film, how reactions are magnified in the cinema. Sometimes critics reactions may not be as vocal as they might be with a general audience, or, it just may purely be the mix of people that also chose to see that film at that given time on that day, and how they connected with it. It’s an interesting thing to consider, how sometimes when watching a film in a cinema, you feel connected to everyone around you by the experience, similarly affected and involved. It reminded me, while a completely different experience, of the disaster that was seeing Incompresa at the Italian Film Festival last year. It was a gruesomely horrifying, sadly unforgettable film, and as we, the audience, gasped collectively and sat frozen in horror at that inevitable ending, there was a feeling of unity, that we all understood what those around us were feeling in that moment, and somehow, felt weirdly connected to them, even if we never did actually speak. Wild is a film that is, in a very good way, confronting and heartwrenching but authentically uplifting. While everyone didn’t fall in love with the film as much as I have (and that is a lot), you could feel the audience laugh, cry, and recoil, somehow drawn together by the intensely human experience on screen. Look out for more on Wild soon.

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