Should you bring a toddler to ‘Zero Dark Thirty’?

We went last Saturday night to see “Zero Dark Thirty,” and I was surprised to see a small child in the theater. The little girl was probably between 2 and 3 years old. It was an 8 p.m. showing.

I guess the ticket for the child was less expensive than paying a baby sitter. The toddler didn’t make any noises and did fall asleep about an hour into the movie. However, the entire first hour of the movie was torture scenes to get information from terrorist suspects. I wanted to cover the toddler’s eyes and ears. The toddler was in her parent’s lap but was looking at the screen.

So what are your thoughts: If you know your child is going to fall asleep do you bring them to a questionable movie? Do you think it wasn’t a big deal because waterboarding may not register with a child as violent? Or were these parents just totally wrong to bring a small child into that movie at any time of day? Should the theater not allow kids in with their parents to movies like that or does it just have to be up to the parents’ judgment?

Side Note: I really wanted to see this movie because I was interested in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, however I didn’t think it was great. It was good and interesting but it was very violent. I think “Argo” was a better made movie than “Zero Dark Thirty.” And I think Jessica Chastain was better in “The Debt” than in “Zero Dark Thirty.”

67 comments Add your comment

MANGLER

January 17th, 2013
10:35 am

Toddlers don’t belong in theaters period. Some theaters have children’s play areas – that’s why the have children’s play areas! You want to let your kid watch whatever at home or in the back seat of the Honda Odyssey that’s fine. But I’ve paid just as much precious money as you did for my tickets and I don’t want babies, toddlers, or anyone who lacks the ability to understand appropriate movie theater etiquette in there (and I realize that extends to all age groups, but that wasn’t this question).

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Voice of Reason

January 17th, 2013
10:45 am

Is the kid, at 2 or 3 years of age, even going to remember what happens in the movie? At that age, probably not. It is the same reasoning that Disney uses for not charging admission to kids 3 and younger, because they won’t remember it.

Is it extremely bad judgement on the part of a parent to bring a child that young to a night showing at a theater to see a movie that is rated “R?” Um, YES!

People who bring their toddlers to adult movies are the reason why I wait until the Blu-Ray comes out.

Not A Mom

January 17th, 2013
10:48 am

Kids don’t belong in movies that are rated R, period. I swear. This is why I go to CineBistro in Brookhaven – it’s more expensive but it’s over 21 only after 6pm and I don’t have to put up with children in movies. Bliss!

Stacey

January 17th, 2013
10:59 am

I agree with Mangler about not taking toddlers to any movie as most of them don’t have the attention span to sit still that long. I agree with VOR that the kid is likely too young to remember anything about the movie so I don’t think they will be influenced by the violence depicted. (JMO) I am actually a lot more strict about what I allow my son (almost 12) to watch and/or listen to than I was when he was younger. Likewise, I am more conscious of the movies I rent for myself when he is home and may see or hear something I deem inappropriate for children.

southern mom

January 17th, 2013
11:02 am

Taking a child to see a movie like this is very in appropriate, in my opinion. Parents may think their child won’t remember those acts of violence, or even interpret what they see as being violent or scary, but it is impossible to know what is going on in a child’s mind at that age. They do not have the vocabulary that we have and many 2-3 year olds are unable to express fear or sadness in any form but tears. We also have no idea of what they are dreaming of when they are sleeping. I have a friend now that has unfortunately had to participate in a sleep study with her 3 year old because she was waking up several times over night screaming. The study confirmed “night terrors” as the cause of her sleeplessness and tears. Children dream about those things they have seen on television and their day to day activities. Do parents really want their children dreaming about this? More importantly, they learn from things they see on television…do you want your children imitating this behavior at home? Even if the child appears to be sleeping, are you certain they are not aware of the noise and voices around them? I have a potty trained child that saw a silly commercial for Scrubbing Bubbles on the television and she reverted to having accidents for several weeks because she became afraid of the potty. Their are play centers at some theaters for a reason. If you can’t afford a sitter at home, then chances are you probably can’t afford what you are paying for that movie either and you really should wait for it to be released on Blu-Ray or DVD. I agree with Voice of Reason…I think it’s rude to go see any adult movie and have a small child crying or talking the entire movie, regardless of the movie content.

beanster

January 17th, 2013
11:04 am

DB

January 17th, 2013
11:04 am

Oh, HELL no, you shouldn’t be taking a toddler to an R-rated movie! Why would anyone do that?! It’s funny, though — they’ll take them to a violent movie “because they won’t remember it”, but I doubt they’d take the child to a sexually-explicit movie — because that would be “inappropriate.”

If you can’t afford a babysitter, wait for the DVD. This is not rocket science.

BW

January 17th, 2013
11:10 am

No no no…I saw Django with grade school aged kids in the theater as well….get a babysitter or you can’t watch the movie….good Lord what is wrong with these people?

derek

January 17th, 2013
11:11 am

its the parents choice.. this is america still right? if someone pays for a movie ticket regaurdless of age have the same rights as you and i to see that movie. is it wrong? whos to say, becaue one person feels its wrong doesnt make it so.. a movie thearter is open to the public.. if you dont want kids there wait till it coes out on dvd and enjoy it in your home, dont bash someone else for exercising there freedoms

Aquagirl

January 17th, 2013
11:14 am

If children weren’t affected by anything they see or hear before the age of 3 why don’t we just lock them in cages with an auto-feed tray and ignore them? Oh, gee, maybe what happens around toddlers DOES affect them. DB makes a good point–if they don’t remember stuff, why don’t you go at it like rabbits in front of your 2 year old?

MANGLER

January 17th, 2013
11:25 am

Side note: at the $1 theater, I find I’m much less inclined to get annoyed when there is noise around because it was $1 ($1.50 on the weekend). However, for the $11 ($15 Imax) prices + concession if any, I’d rather not hear crying, screaming, or playing.
And derek, yes, it is choice and people are free to go, but that doesn’t make it socially appropriate. How many people bring their toddlers to work with them? To the gym? At the bar in a restaurant? It’s not against the law, but it’s not appropriate and can be disruptive. Parents of newborns and toddlers know this. It’s the ones that don’t care that create the stigma. Obviously emergencies happen and schedules change last minute, but why are you at a movie in such a case?

jarvis

January 17th, 2013
11:25 am

@derek, not a single person said it should be illegal. That’s what freedom is. Saying someone is a dumbass for it, is my personal opinion which the First Amendment also grants me the freedom to share.

Ali

January 17th, 2013
11:29 am

Derek, I agree – this is a free country. HOWEVER, people need to exercise good judgement, and bringing a toddler to a movie is most definitely not exercising good judgement. If your babysitter cancels on you, then don’t go to a movie. If childcare fell through for me, would it then be appropriate for me to bring my toddler to work with me? Maybe THEY should wait for the movie to come out on DVD.

Mayhem

January 17th, 2013
11:33 am

Absolutely NOT!!! Normal toddlers should be in bed by 8-9:00.

I have friends who have taken their two boys everywhere with them. Concerts, football games, etc. Their reasoning: “We didn’t have kids to leave them with babysitters”. These boys have gone to concerts with their parents, at the tender age of 3. Why anyone would take a 3 year old to a Who concert is beyond me.

Some people are extremely selfish and don’t care about what others think. I myself don’t give a rats butt what people think, but I certainly would NOT drag a small child to an adult movie. I’d rather watch a movie in the comfort of my own home, than go to a theater.

jarvis

January 17th, 2013
11:33 am

Wearing your pants pulled up to your chest is also legal, but I’m going to judge you.

Janice

January 17th, 2013
11:39 am

are you crazy???? isn’t this movie rated R???

toddler might not understand the movie, but what about the flashes and loud sounds?!!!

no wonder kids are screwed up!

derek

January 17th, 2013
11:40 am

an argueement can be made for both sides.. socially acceptable isnt a law. because some one finds it socially un acceptable doesnt mean diddly.. are skirts socially acceptable.. seems like that term changes alot. a movie is just that a movie , if your good time was cut short speak to a manager about get a raincheck or and yes if i didnt have a babysitter i would bring my kid to work because i need my job. and yes kids go to the gym with there parents and yes kids go everywhere.do i agree with them seeing the movie .. not really but whatever.. and i NEVER used the term illegal. this shouldnt be a questuion anyway.. who are we to decide what one parent should do. where would you be if someone decide what your parent did to raise you..

A

January 17th, 2013
11:51 am

Thankfully now many movie chains will not allow kids under a certain age to be in a R rated movie after a certain time. If you can’t hire a sitter for whatever reason, wait for the DVD! I think most of us did that after having kids. I know we got more than our money’s worth from Netflix after the birth of our child. Whether a kid is well behaved or not, one that young has no business being anywhere near an R movie, especially one like Zero Dark Thirty.

jarvis

January 17th, 2013
11:52 am

Sorry derek. I took “It’s personal choice. This is America still right?” as you saying that we have the freedom to make our choices in this country.

What seems to be missing is my right to think and express that those people are morons. Yes, they CAN take a toddler to a movie. And Yes, I CAN take a dump in the office bathroom and not flush it. They are both just uncourteous actions and probably should be avoided.

Chaos

January 17th, 2013
11:54 am

Is it just me, or does anyone else here give up trying to understand the point someone is trying to make, even if their point seems valid, when they repeatedly make spelling and grammar mistakes in their comments?

/Raises hand

Mayhem

January 17th, 2013
12:22 pm

Ticket to 8:00 movie – $50-$75.00 (entire family);
Popcorn, sodas candy – $50.00 (entire family).

$100+ for me and my family to sit in a dark theater for 2 hours, watch 15 minutes of commercials and pre-views; sit in an uncomfortable chair for 2 hours, unable to pause or rewind, cannot talk, hold your potty breaks (you might miss a key feature in the movie) and deal with rude people who bring their infants.

OR

Stay home, watch same movie on netflix, pause/rewind when I want, go to the bathroom when I want, pop some corn, sit comfortably in recliner – PRICELESS!!! AND, I can put $80 into savings.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 17th, 2013
12:25 pm

I was concerned for the child seeing the violence but it was a little bit annoying since I was paying a babysitter $10 to hour to see the movie with our adult friends. (Plus the cost of the movie)

HB

January 17th, 2013
12:41 pm

I can’t imagine taking a child to that movie. Personally, I don’t mind quiet children being in theaters, but not for R-rated, lesser-rated violent, or even loud movies. If parents on rare occasion want to bring a quiet child likely to quickly fall asleep to a quieter rom-com and are willing to immediately take the child outside if they get fussy or chatty, I think that’s fine.

Aquagirl

January 17th, 2013
12:49 pm

I was paying a babysitter $10 to hour to see the movie with our adult friends.

You should sue yourself for infringing on your own Constitutional right to drag young children to a movie. Who cares about your kids, other moviegoers, or the world in general? You’re being repressed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXdM8fkup4Q

jarvis

January 17th, 2013
12:54 pm

@Mayhem, go to Phipps. The new chairs are outstanding. Like watching a movie in a big fat leather Lazee Boy.

xxx

January 17th, 2013
1:00 pm

Your own words “The toddler didn’t make any noises and did fall asleep about an hour into the movie.” and “but it was a little bit annoying since I was paying a babysitter $10 to hour to see the movie with our adult friends.”

So the mere existence of sleeping children annoy you?

Maybe the parents should’ve just paid you to watch the kid, seesm like you did for free anyway.

Mayhem

January 17th, 2013
1:01 pm

@Jarvis – that’s entirely way to far for me to drive to see a movie and sit in an outstanding chair..LOL. We live by Lake Lanier….I cannot tell you the last time I was in Buckhead. I don’t really care for it down there. Traffic is horrible at any given time, and there is NOTHING for me there.

Granmama

January 17th, 2013
1:14 pm

Just because the toddler doesn’t “understand” or “remember” does NOT mean the child is not affected! Things we have no memory of still go to shape us! Ask any half-decent psychologist!

Jeff

January 17th, 2013
1:15 pm

All consideration and decency in public went out the window a LONG time ago for a signifcant percentage of the population.

Matt

January 17th, 2013
1:28 pm

No, absolutely not. I rarely see a movie in the theater for this exact reason. I love kids, but I can’t deal with a screaming baby or chatty toddler when I’m trying to watch an adult movie. Kids that age shouldn’t be seeing R-rated movies. Unfortunately, we cannot outlaw bad parents. So I just stay away from the theater unless the movie they’re showing is one I’ve been waiting to see, like The Hobbit.

Voter

January 17th, 2013
1:32 pm

No, Rated R is not for children under 18, period.

Mayhem

January 17th, 2013
1:38 pm

Last Sunday while grocery shopping, it must have been “Bring your screaming children to Publix” day. At least 4 screaming babies……and the parents are ignoring them. It was all I could do to finish my shopping. I cast a few dirty looks……

Me

January 17th, 2013
1:43 pm

If that child were well behaved to the point of not interrupting the movie there is an almost certain chance that I would have given no thought at all to him/her being in attendance. As far as spending time judging other parents? Nah, I don’t have that time.

Tina

January 17th, 2013
1:44 pm

Mayhem, you do understand that there are parents out there that don’t work and have noone to baby sit for them right? I can understand not wanting a child in a theater but in the grocery store? I personally know a lot of mothers out of work right now that have to take their children to the grocery store etc. and I certainly wouldn’t give them dirty looks for the child making a little fuss while they are trying to shop and provide for their family like we all are.

Me

January 17th, 2013
1:46 pm

And I have to agree with @xxx, if the child wasnt bothering you how could you also find it annoying?

Mayhem

January 17th, 2013
2:01 pm

@Tina – Really???? I had no clue. (sarcasm) And trust me, it wasn’t a “little fuss”, it was major temper tantrums run amok. I never said I didn’t want them in the grocery store. and yea I gave the parents dirty looks. I wasn’t the only one. I would have offered to help them out but my head was pounding and I had my own family to take care of.

BTW – “no one” is two words, not one.

Georgia

January 17th, 2013
2:24 pm

Yeah, I took a child to that movie. Is it okay to use “al roker” as a verb?

Chaos

January 17th, 2013
2:25 pm

Mayhem and I did it in the grocery store. We made lots of noise.

/Cleanup on aisle 1

Armanda

January 17th, 2013
2:57 pm

Just because something doesn’t work for YOU, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for someone else. Just because someone does something that you wouldn’t do does not make it wrong. Believe it or not, the world doesn’t revolve around you and how you see things.

These people brought their toddler to the movie. They enjoyed the movie and the toddler wasn’t a problem. Sounds like they have a pretty well-behaved toddler to me.

Tina

January 17th, 2013
3:07 pm

It doesn’t matter Mayhem, they needed groceries just like you did only they didn’t have a sitter. A person can’t help if their child gets tired in the store. And yes, I realize no one is two words but my typing is rather fast and I missed it. I forgot, you don’t make mistakes so you wouldn’t understand that either in your perfect little world.

Actually, mayhem...

January 17th, 2013
3:22 pm

…”noone” is one word, as in Peter Noone of “The Monkees” fame…

Maddox

January 17th, 2013
3:29 pm

A screaming baby at the grocery store does not bother me. I am a parent and I’d bet all parents have been in that situation before. Instead, I have empathy, and I often try to catch their eye to offer a sympathetic glance or supportive comment. I’m sure they would much rather have a quieter outing without the dirty looks. Again, who has never had a child cry in public, spill a drink in a restaurant, or behave in a way you would rather they didn’t.

However, that being said, if you have a screaming toddler during a late dinner in a nice restaurant, nice for me means I dressed up a bit and have on makeup, then I will get irritated. Especially if it’s past the typical family dinner hour of say 6 o’clock. I have always been courteous, and aware of others whenever my child misbehaved. Children have to be taught how to behave in public, and keeping them at home when they’re small doesn’t teach them. Taking them but removing them when they misbehave, does teach them.

Mayhem

January 17th, 2013
3:30 pm

Yea it does matter Tina. If you have a child who is tired and cranky, you remove the child from the situation. You, as the ADULT, control the child (not the other way around), and REMEDY the situation by removing the TIRED CRANKY child so as to not upset the other shoppers. It’s called (say it with me now) Responsible parenting.

bb

January 17th, 2013
3:31 pm

Just the typical me, me, me mentality. Most people have no idea of proper decorum and think their rights supercede everyone else. I can’t tell you how many times I see little children in violent movies or my personal favorite horror movies…..small children cannot process the violence. They don’t understand the difference between what is real and what is is not real. Then when little Suzy has nightmare or violent outbursts at school the parents just don’t make the connection to the steady diet of scary movies and violent video games Suzy has been watching and playing. Stupidity abounds

Maddox

January 17th, 2013
3:35 pm

And no, I would never take my child to a scary, violent movie. That’s a very selfish, and uneducated person.

My daughter saw the Lion King when she was about 4 or 5, and she was terrified of the bad lion. The killing of the father was the limit, I had to turn off the movie, and she never watched it again. Even once she was well into her teens all she could remember was how badly it scared her when she was little. Of course she was no longer scared but the memory made her still not interested in seeing the movie.

Atlanta Mom

January 17th, 2013
3:43 pm

Call me old fashioned, but I would not subject a child that young to the sound levels in a theater. On the rare occasion I go to a movie it is often times too loud for me.

Tina

January 17th, 2013
3:43 pm

So after an hour of doing my shopping and getting everything on my list, my child gets tired and starts crying so I’m suppose to just leave my buggy without my groceries and get my child out of there so as not to bother you? And you contradict your own statements by griping about said children and then saying “a screaming baby in the store doesn’t bother me”. Either they do or don’t but either way, I’m going to do my shopping on my own time and if my child starts to cry and you give me a dirty look, your day will get worse than just having to listen to the child cry for a few mins.

Mayhem

January 17th, 2013
3:54 pm

Yes. I’ve had to do it, why can’t you? But your attitude is baffling…..if someone gave you a dirty look cuz your kid was out of control, you would allow that child to continue the behavior, just to piss off the evil eye giver???????

AND it was Maddox who said a screaming baby didn’t bother her, not me.

Tina

January 17th, 2013
4:19 pm

The only time I’ve left my groceries like that was when I got a phone call that my brother died. And we’re not talking about an out of control child, simply a tired crying one. Big difference. Have a good weekend.