I visited Tripadvisor’s ‘worst cinema in Birmingham’ which was called a ‘disgrace’ – and was pleasantly surprised?

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It is an experience like no other. A chance to lose yourself in a story – a portal to another world, an escape from reality.

Who doesn’t love a trip to the cinema? Well, quite a few people actually.

No business is safe from a damning Tripadvisor review, but there is one cinema in Birmingham that has had plenty of critics. Into the Vue cinema star city is the website’s worst-ranked cinema in town.

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While most cinemas in the region enjoy a respectable four out of five stars, the Vue at star city has a meager 2.5 – met over 70 one star reviews

The cinema has a rating of 2.5/5 on Tripadvisor.

“I will never use Vue Star City again and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, period,” said one reviewer. “Worst cinema ever, rubbish everywhere, spilled drinks left on the floor and ignored by staff,” said another.

Complaints ranged from overpriced food to cold theaters and dirty toilets. When I got off the 66 bus and was on my way to the cinema, I can safely say that I feared the worst.


A medium popcorn cost me £6.
A medium popcorn cost me £6.

Despite my apprehensions, my trip to Vue couldn’t have started any better. I paid £5.99 for my ticket which – after paying £18 for a Batman ticket last week – was music to my ears.

With a spring in my step, I approached the food and drink counter. Morale was high, today was going to be a good day.

But that smile was quickly wiped off my face after a medium-sized popcorn netted me £6. I’ll be honest, I’ve been smuggling popcorn into movie theaters since I was 10, so I can’t tell you if this is the industry standard.

But what I can tell you is that it left a sour taste. My snack shouldn’t cost more than my ticket, right?

Luckily the popcorn itself was fresh and warm. But my initial optimism had certainly been dented.

“The food is expensive, but I think that’s expected everywhere. So I recommend bringing your own candy!” says Dave on Tripadvisor. I couldn’t have said it better myself, Dave.

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The cinema was spotless.
The cinema was spotless.

“As soon as you enter there is food on the floor and paper everywhere,” reads one review. “The toilets are absolutely shocking – stay away from this cinema.” After reading this scathing review, I was terrified of what I might find.

However, I am happy to report that I did not find any food or paper on the floor. In all fairness, the place was spotless.

The toilets were all perfectly serviceable. The theater itself was clean and crumb free.

I may have been lucky and arrived at the right time of day – I was there on a Thursday evening from about 6-8pm – but from what I saw this is a perfectly clean cinema.


I was the only person at my screening.
I was the only person at my screening.

Perhaps the most bizarre series of complaints against the Vue in star city is around the temperature in the theaters.

“We had to wait 45 minutes for the movie because it was ICE FREE! We were in coats and gloves, but we just couldn’t take it anymore,” reads one review. Another visitor compared her experience to ‘sitting in a fridge’.

I had an extra sweater with me and feared the worst, but luckily that was not necessary. I found the temperature of the theater to be perfectly adequate – not too hot, not too cold.

The chairs themselves, they have made headlines in the past for all the wrong reasons, we are comfortable enough with just about enough legroom. They reminded me of car seats, they do the job, but I wouldn’t want to sit in them for more than a few hours.

If you’re looking for the highest level of comfort, this cinema isn’t for you – but if you’re willing to miss out on the luxurious armchairs, you won’t be disappointed.


The hallways were eerily quiet.
The hallways were eerily quiet.

So what about the actual cinematic experience? Well, this one is hard to rate as I was the only one in the cinema – which was both a blessing and a curse.

On the plus side I was able to put my popcorn a good three seats away from me to avoid mocking the whole thing during the trailers and throwing my £6 down the drain.

The disadvantage? The horror movie I was watching became significantly more immersive. Frankly, the whole cinema itself felt quite creepy.

Maybe I was on edge after an hour and a half of watching people being chased by chainsaws, but walking down empty hallway after empty hallway it got a little unsettling.

I know I wasn’t there during rush hour but the place seemed deserted. Looking back, I think I’ve seen more staff than customers.


I was pleasantly surprised by my visit to Vue Star City.
I was pleasantly surprised by my visit to Vue Star City.

I went to Star City in fear of what might come after reading the overwhelmingly awful reviews on TripAdvisor.

Could I come through the door for all the trash? Would I faint at the sight of the toilet situation? Would I freeze to death?

But honestly I couldn’t fault the place – I’m slightly stunned to see how this is the worst rated cinema in Birmingham.

I was very pleasantly surprised by my experience and if it wasn’t the other side of Birmingham I would definitely return – with my own popcorn of course.

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