Whenever I’m invited to the movies, I have a ritual. I find the proposed film on Wikipedia, and, if a full plot summary has been posted, I read all the spoilers.
If the summary isn’t there yet, I search for it elsewhere, checking through reviews, Reddit discussions, anything that might tell me what happens in the end. Rarely will I agree to go if I can’t find out exactly what I’m going to see.
This ritual drives my friends and husband crazy. They generally believe, as many do, that spoilers will ruin their enjoyment of the movie. They and their ilk are the reason film reviews only rarely have the information I want, and the reason that, when it is included, it’s prefaced with a paragraph of warning and apology: Here be spoilers — like the cautions against sea monsters on old maps. Film studios agree and will embargo early reviews to keep plots secret. Conventional wisdom holds that spoilers are bad, surprise is good, and what happens at the end is something you should learn only while watching the movie.
I disagree, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. There’s a reason some of Google’s top autocomplete suggestions after you type any new movie title into the search box are “spoilers,” “summary,” and “synopsis.” People want to know. There are dozens of us!
My own reasoning is twofold. The first is practical: I am busy. I have twin toddlers. I don’t go to the movies often. (The last time I went was in January 2020, and the reason I haven’t gone since has little to do with the…