Ryan Gosling Sparks Controversy After Movie Theater Phone Video

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

Ryan Gosling has been on a hot streak, staring in hit blockbusters like Barbie, but he’s managed to create controversy in the pre-roll message that plays before his latest movie, The Fall Guy. In the brief pre-movie clip, he tells the audience that if they check their phone, they should try to shield the light it creates with a jacket. Some believe this is the actor giving tacit approval of phone use in theaters, which has become a hot-button issue for theatergoers. 

Don’t Use Phones In Movie Theaters

Pre-show messages from the movie’s stars have become increasingly common recently and almost always feature the actors asking the audience not to use their phones. While Ryan Gosling’s video starts with the standard request to keep phones put away, he follows it up by suggesting that if you have to check your phone, you should try to hide the light it creates to minimize the distraction. It’s a fairly harmless statement, played for laughs, but it’s touched a nerve for some.

Theaters Are Struggling

Naturally, those who want a pure theater experience are upset with this acceptance that people will check their phones. They believe that by advising people on how to check their phones in the theater, Ryan Gosling encourages them to engage in the behavior. Using your phone during a movie is generally accepted as rude, but a few people are always willing to violate that etiquette rule. 

Some also view Ryan Gosling’s tepid condemnation of phone use in the theater as a sign of changing times. It’s not a secret that theatrical releases have struggled in the post-COVID era when more people are opting to wait for movies to come to streaming. Some critics point to this as the root of growing phone use, as people aren’t used to the theater experience. 

The Fall Guy Is A Hit

While Ryan Gosling’s pre-film comments caused a bit of a stir among movie fans, it hasn’t detracted from the reception of The Fall Guy. The film is sitting at 83 percent among critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an even higher 87 percent among audiences, with the film’s stuntwork and practical effects garnering praise. If anything, the film’s only notable controversy coming from the pre-film video should be counted as a win for The Fall Guy. 

Old School Action-Comedy

ryan gosling

An adaptation of a 1980s TV show of the same name, The Fall Guy is an action-comedy about a stuntman who gets wrapped up in a criminal conspiracy. Ryan Gosling plays the lead, acting alongside Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Winston Duke, Hannah Waddingham, Teresa Palmer, and Stephanie Hsu. Released on March 4th, it made $64.5 million worldwide in its opening weekend. 

The Fall Guy Is Now In Theaters

The jabs at Ryan Gosling over the video are in good fun but touch on genuine annoyance for movie audiences. Whether you’re on the strict no phones in the theater side of the argument or approve of Gosling’s distraction reduction approach, the consensus that phone use at the movies is rude remains. The Fall Guy and its controversial pre-show video are in theaters now; don’t use your phone if you decide to see it.