As previously reported, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” features one of the directors key tenets: inaudible dialogue.
Since the film’s worldwide rollout, many viewers have taken online to point out the difficulty hearing dialogue and the desire for subtitles.
Can’t wait for #Tenet to come out on Blu-ray so I can watch the movie with captions turned on…. review coming soon.
— John Flickinger (@theFLICKpick) September 1, 2020
I can’t stress enough that if you are at all hard of hearing, you should absolutely seek out a captioned screening of Tenet. I have only your standard minor hearing loss from gigs, and I lost so much of what was said. I was desperate for subtitles.
— Caitlin Welsh (@Caitlin_Welsh) August 22, 2020
Really looking forward to seeing Tenet again… on netflix with subtitles so I can understand half the dialogue
— Dan (@regen) September 1, 2020
Here’s the good news: each American theater is legally required to provide you with such an option.
A Department of Justice ruling requires all U.S. theaters to provide closed caption devices to patrons upon request, as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These devices are usually glasses or cupholder sticks, as seen on the images below. They are intended for deaf and hard of hearing guests, but can be requested by anybody.
While some smaller, independent theaters may not have such equipment on hand, both AMC and Regal have them available at all their locations.
These devices can be requested for all Tenet screenings labeled with “CC”, which stands for Closed Caption. There are also “OC”, Open Caption shows which simply display subtitles for all audience members on the screen. However, OC shows are usually done upon request while all digital shows automatically have CC capabilities.
Screenings in 35mm or 70mm film are a different story due to the analog projection technology, but since a majority of shows are digital there should be an opportunity for everyone to access a CC show.
The theater staff has to ensure the devices are properly charged and set for the correct auditorium. Due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements, it may be a decent idea to call and alert staff in advance of your request. Some staff may also require you to sign in to ensure devices don’t get stolen.
It should be noted that such devices are expensive, limited and meant for disabled guests.
Alternatively, some theaters can choose to schedule open caption shows so no devices are necessary to follow along with the otherwise inaudible dialogue.
Image: Warner Bros.