squeamish guides

A Squeamish Person’s Guide to Seeing 127 Hours in the Theater

Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours is a terrific, intoxicating rush of a movie, and Vulture would hate for its release this Friday to be marred by even more stories of people fainting at inappropriate times. Sure, this true-life story of trapped, arm-removing mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco) has some famously grody moments, but it’d be a shame to miss the whole movie just because a few of its 90 minutes are so intense. “If you’re feeling woozy, just cover your eyes,” Franco told Vulture recently, but when should you be on guard? We’ve put together this handy-dandy, only slightly spoiler-y guide to let you know when to look away, and the first offending moment may be one you aren’t expecting.

39 minutes into the movie, just after you’ve seen a hallucinatory, inflatable Scooby-Doo (just go with us on this), anyone with 20/20 vision may want to look away from the screen, because that’s the point in 127 Hours when the tired Ralston takes the contact lenses out of his eyes — a move shot by Boyle in extreme close-up — and wets them in his mouth for moisture. For the nearsighted moviegoing contingent, this procedure will be old hat, but people who’ve never had to stick their fingers in their eyes before will be climbing the walls and protesting loudly, to judge from the reaction at the screening Vulture attended. Seriously, it was almost worse than the eventual arm-cutting.

46 minutes in, Aron will say, “So, I found this great tourniquet.” We think you know what a tourniquet does, right? Close your eyes for 90 seconds until he says, “It hasn’t been very useful.” That was just a warm-up, though; after this, things start getting a little hairy.

A full hour in, the film’s most emotional moment — when Aron tapes a heartfelt message to his parents on his camcorder — is followed by one of its most harrowing. Enjoy that message, but after Aron concludes it, he’s going to get to work on that whole arm-separation thing again. If you’re not a fan, shut your eyes for at least a good two minutes (unless you also want to see him consume his own urine).

And then, it happens. An hour and fourteen minutes in, after you see the above image (So pretty! So innocuous!), shit goes down. Aron will start eyeing his arm again, and this would be the time to go to your happy place for a good four minutes. Sneak the occasional glance at the onscreen carnage — you’ve got to brag that you made it through — but don’t retire to the restroom, or else you’ll miss A.R. Rahman’s powerful, propulsive score, which guides this movie to its overwhelmingly cathartic climax. Enjoy the rest of the movie, and don’t worry: He wraps that wounded stub up right away!

A Squeamish Person’s Guide to Seeing 127 Hours in the Theater