Time geography – lets go to the movies as studied by Hagerstrand

Time geography – lets go to the movies as studied by Hagerstrand

I was lucky enough to be able to drag my boyfriend along with me to the movies; it may have taken all about two seconds for him to agree to come with me. Unlike me Alex loves the movies, he is a movie theater enthusiasts he is absolutely addicted to the atmosphere that the cinema can provide. As he constantly says to me, it gives him the feeling that he can escape reality for the brief 1.5 to 2 hours. Making this week blog task easy to achieve, we decided to watch one very over priced movie Bad Moms, little did Alex realize this was essentially a chick flick, so I felt like I won a secrete victory there. I set out with a goal to watch and record what other people did during the movies, including us.


(source:  Cinematreasures)

It soon became evident that there were silent rules that everyone follows, when visiting the movies and by watching people during our movie it become interesting to witness what people did during the movie that made them feel more comfortable within the cinema. In a weird way they all established their own certain rituals, including where the felt comfortable sitting and whether they followed there designated sitting or whether they brought their own food. In our particular cinema, it was quite a late session starting at 9:30pm at Greater Union at Westfield Miranda. It soon became obvious that everyone present was sitting in two particularly couples, however what become interesting is that everyone sitting in our cinema theatre felt comfortable sitting separated from the crowd of other couples. Leaving quite reasonable gaps between them, something that I know Alex and myself also did. When asked where to sit Alex replied to the usher that he wanted us to sit in the middle of theatre, when I asked him why he replied that he never really thought about it but after given thought he established that he felt that he wasn’t being watched in the middle of the theater he felt like he didn’t have everyone staring at the back of his head, that the middle gave him the best view of the screen.

What was interesting is before the movie even started hardly anyone was talking to each other, instead the majority of the girls in the theatre where on the phones. Scrolling through social media in particular Facebook, I must admit I was guilty of this too. Alex and I didn’t buy any food at the theaters this time, we both looked at the prices and both agreed 15 dollars for a coke and popcorn wasn’t ideal. So the cheap people we are opted for Coles lollies (what else are University students meant to do, so please hold the judgment ha-ha). Though there were a considerable amount of moviegoers that didn’t have the same view as us, they were busy chomping away on their popcorn and chop tops.

In the text written by Hagerstrand (2001) he studied the way people acted and how they behaved in society, particular “ the effects of space on human behavior”(Hagerstrand, 2001,p.1) studying human migration patterns. Highlighting the importance of time in Human activity “Time has a crucial importance when it comes to fitting people and things together for functioning in socio-economic systems” (Hagerstrand, 2001,p.2). Stating that even though a venue like a movie theatre might be close to you there are often obstacles that get in our way. For instances a person cannot allocate enough time to travel to it, allowing the person to not attended the movie (Hagerstrand, 2001,p.2). He uses three categories to describe the limitations or constraints a person can come across regarding time geography (Hagerstrand, 2001,p.2). The first is Capability, where a person considers how they might get somewhere (Hagerstrand, 2001,p.2). For example for Alex and myself attending the movies theater, wasn’t such a big issue for us we both have our full license. This allowed us the comfort of knowing that we could easily get there and back quickly and without hassle. A particularly benefit knowing that we chose a later movie session. If for some reason we didn’t have our cars and had to catch the train, I highly doubt we would make the effort to travel from our home to Miranda for a movie that late. Money wasn’t a factor for us too, of course it played a part in our minds we where both just able to afford it. Thus as Hagerstrand (2001,p.2) describes it, is his capability theory.

The second is coupling, where he questions if a person can get there at the right time (Hagerstrand, 2001,p.2). Again for Alex and myself we had to choose a movie session that allowed us not to rush to the movie theater. A time that we both knew we could make, which happened to limit our choices of what movie to pick. For a person this limits a person decision to go somewhere, this is what Hagerstrand (2001,p.2) calls coupling. Lastly he illustrates the last limitation, authority, where a person considers am I allowed to be there? Where they think about the ability to access the venue (Hagerstrand, 2001,p.2). For instances this movies was MA+ meaning that anyone under the age of 15 wasn’t allowed to watch the movie unless they where companied by an adult, limiting their access to the venue. For myself this wasn’t a problem as both Alex and myself where allowed full access to the venue. Considering that we are both over the age requirement. Overall our movie experience was quite enjoyable, I enjoyed my company and I really enjoyed our overpriced movie pick. Though I think I will wait another couple of months to go back or unless Alex drags me there, which is always highly likely.


Ps. Go watch bad mom if you’re a lady I highly recommend it. But maybe take your mum or your best friends instead, not a boyfriend whom gets bored half way through . below is a trailer if you want to know more about the movie .

As always all the best

Chelsea x



Corbett, J & Donald, J (eds) 2001, ‘Torsten Hagerstrand , Time Geography’ Center for spatially integrated social science , 25th August, pp1-4