I’m not stupid, I know people have to suspend their disbelief when they go to the Movies (or “the Pictures” as we like to say in the UK). I know we have to watch people do crazy things, yet have narrow (unrealistic) escapes. I know we are asked to watch artistic sex, where nobody wears a condom, yet nor do they grab a tissue and clean up the sperm. I know we have to entertain the idea that ghosts and aliens exist. I can do that.
But what I CANNOT allow is that somebody would be SO surprised that they would drop something. It doesn’t happen. It screams “I’m ACTING!”. I mean sure, if you sneaked up behind someone and yelled, they might SPILL something… That’s realistic. But your long-lost brother walks in and you DROP A WHOLE TRAY OF FOOD? No. You see your lover with another woman and you drop a glass of wine to the floor? NO. You hear your mute sister say her first words, so you drop a vase of flowers? NO.
If you get a shock you GRIP, you don’t release. You put stuff down and then do something appropriate. YOU DON’T DROP STUFF. That is the clumsy signal-sending of the Silent Screen era, we don’t need it anymore. This pathetic device for flagging up surprise should be banned forever – in favour of subtle PROPER acting.
Am I right? You know I am.