Lately I’ve been watching more movies and TV shows with subtitles on. And I’m really into it.
It started out of necessity. Too often I’d find myself missing what somebody was saying on the screen, especially during those quiet-but-crucial moments in movies and shows. Adding subtitles negated the need for rewinding over and over again.
But when I kept the subtitles on, even when I didn’t need to rewind for that moment I missed, I found myself catching more details than ever before.
I was learning character names, and their proper spellings. I was catching important lines said off-screen. I was catching song lyrics.
Reading the words on screen gave me a new level of comprehension, even for shows or movies I’ve seen more than once. I could actually see the names of diseases, and medicines, and procedures while watching medical dramas. Plots became generally easier to follow. And I grew an appreciation for shows that were well-written — seeing the script for “The Haunting of Hill House” gave me a deeper level of appreciation for the wordsmiths behind the show.
Subtitles aren’t always ideal — they do kind of ruin some stand-up comedy sets, for example — but give them a try sometime. At the very least, we could all do with reading more often.