The Pain of the ’12A’.

Yesterday, I went to watch The Amazing Spider-man at my local multiplex. It was mid-afternoon and the box office was filled with screaming children gorging on candy floss and genuinely being an irritation. However, I was not phased as I knew the film I was going to see was of a 12A certificate. Therefore, I was convinced that no parent would be foolish enough to take a child younger than ten to see it. I was very wrong. The screen was packed with children on booster seats from the age of about 3. I was furious. These children talked, moaned, commentated, sang and ran up and down the aisle throughout the feature. I don’t blame the children. I blame the parents and I blame the 12A certificate.

Here is the British Board of Film Classification’s description of the 12A:
“The ‘12A’ category exists only for cinema films. No one younger than 12 may see a ‘12A’ film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult, and films classified ‘12A’ are not recommended for a child below 12. An adult may take a younger child if, in their judgement, the film is suitable for that particular child. In such circumstances, responsibility for allowing a child under 12 to view lies with the accompanying adult.”
So, I have several problems with this. What the BBFC are basically saying is that children below the age of twelve all have a different tolerance of cinema; be it violence, language or sex. They are giving the individual parents the responsibility to choose for the child. This creates many problems. Children will moan to see a film that isn’t suitable because a child in their class, who has less responsible parents, has been allowed to see it. Parents end up giving in to the children or simply don’t care about the caution. My biggest issue is not the harm that such films can place upon a child but the sheer boredom. If a film likeThe Amazing Spider-man had been created for an under 12 year audience then it would have been 80 minutes of Spider-man flying through the streets of New York and fighting the baddies. Peter Parker wouldn’t have been included in the movie.
This film was designed for teens and adults. Therefore, there are long scenes that are based around slow moving dialogue and there is complex language that would lose a child’s interest immediately; I watched this happen in the screen in which I was seated. A children’s film does not last over two hours. It is cruel to expect a child to sit still and concentrate for that long. Their minuscule bladders certainly can’t hack it, even if they can. What I am trying to address is that there should be no A at the end of that 12. The BBFC are responsible for certifying films; not exhausted parents who are easily tempted to place their kids in the dark for two and a half hours. If the 12 certificate still exists for rentals then why not for cinema?
My entire time in that screening was constantly disturbed and ruined. It’s not the children’s fault. Every child there should have been watching Ice Age Continental Drift, or playing outside in a park. What a waste of money and time. I should emphasise that I understand that some children want to see a film that is a 12A as they may be a fan of the subject matter. However, it is the children that are of a very young age that I have a real issue with. How can a 4 year old be expected to maintain an interest in something they’ll have forgotten in a week?
Thanks for reading and let’s keep supporting our beloved film industry.

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