Movies for Mommies chance for new parents to be ‘normal’ 0
(From left) Mothers Andrea Holden, Donna Turner and Clare Maloney are bringing their babies to the Rio Theatre for a low-volume, brightly lit screening. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
The squawks, cries and, well, dirty diapers of newborns are obvious targets for prickly movie theatre patrons who are quick with their complaints and piercing looks, according to mom Laura Grady.
Anxious to get out of the house after giving birth a few years back, Grady found her oasis in Movies for Mommies — a film club where parents can bring their newborns to the theatre for an afternoon in front of the silver screen.
“I remember sitting down in the seat and it just felt normal,” she said.
Despite the fact most adults stop coming to screenings before their child’s first birthday, Grady stuck around to organize Movies for Mommies even after her boy grew into a toddler.
She said part of that “normal” feeling is offering grown-up features — not children’s movies — like the new James Bond epic Skyfall at theatres such as the Rio in Vancouver, Burnaby’s Dolphin Theatre or Hollywood 3 in Pitt Meadows.
“It’s nice to offer a mix. You’d think all the moms are into romantic comedies, but my busiest ones seem to be the action (movies),” she said. “I don’t know if it’s inner aggression or something in these moms.”
Before parents need to worry about potentially traumatizing their offspring with the sounds of bullets or images of blood and gore, Grady explained the volume is turned down to protect babies’ ears. In addition, the lights are turned up to help care for the newborns and the theatres are even equipped with a change table.
Besides, she added, the babies usually nodded off after about 20 minutes into an adult-oriented flick.
But Grady noted it’s not even what’s on screen that matters for the target audience.
“Most of the time they come to the theatre not even knowing what movie is playing —they’re just happy to be doing something.”