Movies Should Have Intermissions

If filmmakers insist on making us sit for over two hours we need a pee break

Darkened empty movie theatre and stage with the red curtains drawn viewed over rows of vacant seats ...
Pee pee

Ask anyone what is ruining modern cinema and you’ll likely get a million different (and hotly debated) answers, ranging from “Too much CGI” to “I hate Ryan Reynolds” or simply, “Marvel.” But the one everyone can agree on? Most movies are too long.

Obviously, the ideal runtime for a movie is 90 minutes, but most major motion pictures are at least two hours long. House of Gucci, Dune, Eternals, Don’t Look Up, West Side Story — all movies clocking in at over 120 minutes. In that period of time, I will have consumed a large soda and likely need to pee at least twice.

Recently I watched Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley (150 minutes). Including the waiting period for the film to start, I spent just shy of three hours in the packed cinema, and I would estimate I spent at least two of those hours worrying about having to pee.

I can’t control how long a movie can be, and sometimes I am genuinely happy to sit in a theatre for a few hours and be fully immersed in a beautiful film, like with Dune. The only solution? Bringing back short intermissions so people can take a little break. It’s not that I need to pee more than the average person — it’s the mental burden of not knowing when I should get up that ruins the experience. If there was an intermission, I would know I could wait until then, and that my time would be those five minutes. My mind and body would know to plan accordingly.

I’ve experienced a film intermission only once in my life, and that was when I watched a re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film that had a five-minute intermission 88 minutes in before the second 55-minute portion. It was so lovely to be able to freely stretch and piss midway through a movie without wondering if I was missing a part of the experience.

I understand that logistically, this might not make the most sense. But in a perfect world, films would be short enough for people to not have to worry about missing anything because they would be edited well enough to require only one piss break. This is just one of the reasons why the best film I saw all year was Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman, which was a blissful 72 minutes long.