For years I’ve had a fear of seeing a film, alone, in theatres. I had this grand assumption that films should be a collective experience, and it would be foolish and risky to see one in my own company.
What if someone creepy sits beside you? What will others think when you walk into the theatre alone? Movies are supposed to be watched among friends and loved ones, not by yourself. My anxiety always told me it wasn’t safe or good to see movies alone, in public. Something, anything could go wrong.
But, one day, I went out on my own, bought a ticket to a Marvel film, sat by myself, and watched a film.
And, oh, it changed me in a way I can’t properly describe.
When you watch a film alone, surrounded by strangers, you lose yourself in the story unfurling before your eyes. You react differently– openly and rawly. You lose your inhibitions and need to perform certain reactions when you’re watching a film alone.
Watching a movie alone is a deeply personal experience, despite being enclosed in the company of a few hundred nameless faces. There you are able to laugh openly, weep unabashedly, and immerse yourself entirely for two hours without having to pause to hear a friend’s whispered commentary or miss a line when a companion opens a crinkled wrapped candy offered your way.
Movies are meant to be experienced, not just watched. It’s only when I discovered how open I could be with my emotions, during a film, did I learn to appreciate seeing them by myself.
A movie can be experienced in countless ways, which ultimately influences your enjoyment of it. Some movies are meant to be watched in the company of friends and family, like horror movies. There’s nothing more entertaining than seeing your friends jump and grab ahold of your arm as a jump scare pops out from around a corner.
But I believe that every movie can be experienced alone.
If one hasn’t tried going to the movies by oneself, I encourage you to do so. It’s daunting to take yourself out on a movie date because our minds immediately wonder if strangers will notice if we’re unaccompanied. We feel vulnerable when we’re in a crowd of people we don’t know, but once you jump over the hurdle of that self-doubt and self-consciousness, going to the theatre alone is a wonderful way to spend time with oneself and explore the various emotions a movie can evoke.
I never feel more at home than I do in a crowded theatre where I can let reality fall away for two hours and all I have to focus on is a story that I can openly cry at, laugh with, or smile to myself as certain scenes unfold.
Movies are meant to be an experience, and there’s no greater adventure than seeing a movie by yourself.
I hope you enjoyed this little musing that I wrote to myself as I sat in a parking lot for an hour by myself.
I actually created a Letterboxd list of all the movies I’ve seen by myself, if you want to check that out or add me on Letterboxd: