Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Absolutely Scrabulous - A review of baby cinema

We went on a mother and daughter outing to see Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie this week.

We hadn't been to Baby Cinema since she was about four months old, when she had mainly suckled and slept throughout the main event. Now, at almost nine months, she was not going to be so docile.

Dress code was everything, darlings, so I selected a pink tartan frock my mother had bought from a charity shop with a frilly underskirt, but couldn't persuade her to keep on the tiara I had left over from an old fancy dress costume.

I wore a striped nursing t-shirt dress covered in snot. I was definitely the Saffy out of the two of us.

I packed her most distracting but least noisy toys, and a lunch box containing a large tub of sweet potato cubes, cream cheese finger sandwiches, breadsticks, rice cakes and a banana.

Before the trailers had begun she had eaten all of the sweet potato and most of the sandwiches.

Fortunately, I managed to nab a seat on the front row. Not just the only place to be seen sweetie, but in the world of Baby Cinema, the best spot for maximum play space.

The lights are not all the way down at Baby Cinema, so you can see what they get up to, and the sound is lowered to a level safe for their ears. There is a host who sits in on the screening and can request for the lights and volume to be turned up or down if there is a problem.

I forgot to bring the blanket in, but the floor is immaculately hoovered, and as everyone around had brought theirs, there wasn't even room for them all anyway.

I plonked her down among the crawlers and managed to watch a good 15 minutes of the film uninterrupted as she played with her toys and exchanged some head pats with a very jolly and agile little boy who had crawled all the way along from the other end of the row.

As well as being very amiable, he was also extremely generous, and kept offering her the rice cakes his mother gave him. The boy next to us kept throwing his on the floor too, so she ate at least four rice cakes that didn't belong to her, as well as all her packed lunch.

Sadie Frost's fleeting appearance in the film did make me think for a second that I should probably be a little bit more careful about her eating things off the floor in public... But I was pretty confident she was only hoovering up crumbs of puffed rice and not Class As, Patsy style.

When she'd tired of toys and there was no more food to stuff into her mouth, I resorted to giving her her lunchtime breastfeed early, which meant I was able to watch much more of the film in peace and appreciate many of the visual 'in jokes' Ab Fab is, well, fabulous for.

And then when she'd had enough of that I decided to take an Eddy Monsoon-style relaxed attitude to screen-time and let her sit on my lap and watch the film.

All those bright colours and patterns meant she seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

It's hard to give a full critique of Jennifer Saunders' effort on the script as I spent 40 per cent of the, conveniently short, 91 minutes being distracted by a small child.

But overall, I enjoyed the film.

It was better than the last series of Ab Fab, which had started to lose it a bit I thought, and certainly had enough of the witty social observation, pithy one-liners and brilliantly-placed cameos to make me laugh out loud.

I'm not sure I would recommend baby cinema if your child is past six months though, you just can't concentrate enough on the film. Unless they are absolutely fabulously behaved.

Barbican Parent and Baby Screenings are on Mondays at 11.30am and cost £6 for a parent and child under 12 months.


  1. I would never dare taking Baba to the cinema, just in case he has a tantrum really. But you were well prepared. Happy to see you enjoyed the movie #StayClassyMama

  2. I always thought about doing that, but my 3 were always such unsettled babies that I didn't end up doing it #stayclassy

  3. Oh that sounds fab! Absolutely FAB! I have only been to baby cinema once and made the mistake of not looking at what is playing and it was a scary movie! I hate scary movies, I literally have nightmares about them. Luckily this one wasn't too bad, anyway I would totally love to go back but watch something else. That's great you got the front row and it seems the boy baby may have a little crush on your daughter lol. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

  4. You've just given me a trip down memory lane! I've got tweenagers now but I remember doing baby cinema and being very prepared food wise! I really liked your Ab Fab commentary/humour and observations, I'm hoping to see the film and also v excited about Bridget Jones' baby in Sept too! #chucklemums

  5. I never tried baby cinema, wish I had. I went to watch this film on Friday and I was SO drunk (ask Fran, I was attempting to message her afterwards and failing) So I thought it was AMAZING. #chucklemums

  6. This sounds like a nuts idea but my son was either screaming consistently or on the move so it would never have been an option. I can confirm that Zilla was very, very drunk. Can't wait to see the film! #chucklemums

  7. Glad to know you're trying something new. I don't really understand why and what the baby cinema is meant for. I've a two year old baby boy and he is helping me to rejuvenate after I get stressed by the never-ending office works. He is the reason to smile. I just want to make him happy all the time but I don't get the right kind of inspiration. The reason is we are working parents so it gets difficult for us to nurture the baby as we want. But I hope this baby film will.