If only birthday cards counted as ID….
Films nowadays are more or less a rite of passage. Even before you’re three you can technically march into the cinema and demand to see Free Willy; but as there aren’t that many stray toddlers roaming round the multiplexes anymore, chances are you’d be going with an adult. This means you’re immediately entitled to move onto a PG!
The next age rating upgrade takes a little longer, working with this example you have to wait about nine more years before you can legally watch a 12; suddenly bringing a parent along isn’t enough authentication if you want to see 3-dimensional gore on the big screen – but then a lot of ten year olds successfully pull off that prepubescent charm and beat the system.
However, for fifteens (especially popular ones) identification is often required. Having not yet passed other coming of age mile-stones, and as a result, having no driving licence, student visa or passably aged face to merrily parade, the average budding movie-goer must turn their eye to other avenues of proof. The birth-certificate is one option, but is not something you’re likely to have about your person when a spontaneous cinema trip is announced. The passport is another- but is this an unnecessary risk? After all, the thing’s a pretty important piece of paperwork and no one wants it getting lost, or worse, left to be masticated in the washing machine with other forgotten contents of your pocket when you come home. Very few mourn the aged sweet wrapper, but posing all over again for the passport photo ( in which looking like anything other than an extra for The Walking Dead is a personal victory) does not a fun Saturday make.
In which case, if local cinemas are going to ask for ID to see certain films, wouldn’t it make more sense to ask for it once, and then provide some type of stamped loyalty card that vouched for the person’s age? For many, it’s really only an issue until they become 16, afterwards their age is under little debate- but at least on that awkward cusp between the two, it would make things an awful lot easier; only having worry about your important papers on one trip. While this would not solve the issue of photo-ID it must be remembered that the birth certificate does not have that facility either. This way, 15 year olds may be able to see a 15 rated film on their birthday, without hoping the large Birthday badge on their stomach will do the trick!
Millie Sutherland O’Gara.