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Why You Should Go to the Cinema Alone

Movie-going is often regarded as an activity that should be done with other people. You go to the cinema with your family when it gets too cold for a Sunday walk. You go to the cinema with your mates that have similar movie taste. You go to the cinema on a date so that you can have an excuse to grab your significant others hand for the first time. A lot of people consider going to the movies alone a strange experience, due to the convention that movie viewing is a social experience. But think about it, what do you do when a movie comes out that you really want to watch? Are you too awkward to go by yourself? What about considering waiting a few months for it be released on DVD or an on-demand platform? My advice though? Just go by yourself!

Going to the movies alone is actually quite rewarding. First of all, instead of watching it on your laptop or TV and taking breaks to text your friends back, you can experience the film fully as the filmmaker intended. With the big screen, and the sound at the perfect volume, the unbreakable time dimension of film will be appreciable at its best in a movie theatre.

Additionally, nobody will disturb your experience of the film. Personally, I am a bit of a filmic despot, unable to watch a film with a random person and I know exactly which people I cannot watch them with (e.g. my mum). My viewing partners have to be rigorously trained in withholding their comments and opinions until we exit the cinema doors. I have always treated film as a serious art form and knowing how much work it takes to produce one, I feel obliged to hear and see every single second as the author has intended. I get really frustrated if I miss a line, because what if it was crucial to the plot, or reveals something important of the characters’ past? I may be obsessive, but I believe that as a viewer, it is the least I can do to show respect for the filmmaker.

Also, after a lone screening, you won’t be bombarded with questions and conspiracy theories of other people; you don’t have to have an opinion on the spot, you can evaluate the film in your own time and solitude, and then maybe tell someone what you do think. And most importantly, you can go to whatever movie you like. You like trashy B-movies? Want to see 50 Shades of Grey but feel ashamed? There will be nobody there to judge you! Your friends are not sophisticated artsy hipster indie film fans such as yourself? Leave them behind, they will never understand what they are missing out on anyways. The cinematic world is at the reach of your hand, just let go of the outdated conventions and enjoy your time with yourself!

If I’m still unable to convince you and you feel a bit shy, here are some pro tips to make your solo film experience a bit less awkward:

  1. Go early. Up until 4pm, screenings are usually empty or at east not as busy as an evening or weekend screaning. The only people who go to those are elderly or lone viewers like yourself, and people who are (re)watching a movie for professional purposes, such as film critics and scholars. Your enemies probably won’t go to those.
  2. Book your ticket on the day of the viewing. If you are shy and you do not want to be seen by too many people, book your ticket online and as late as possible. That way you will see how many people are most likely to show up at the screening.
  3. Arrive just on time. If you do not want to stand or sit awkwardly before the screening for too long, buy your ticket online and come to the movie theatre just 5 minutes before the film begins or as the ads are rolling. Don’t arrive too late, though, because there is nothing more awkward than trying to find your seat while everyone else is sat down and ready to watch a movie.
  4. Don’t buy crunchy snacks. If you are going to a less populated screening in a small viewing room it is most likely that you will be one of the few people who will be eating, and every crunch will sound like cutting trees with a chain saw. If you have any packaged snacks, open them before the movie starts.
  5. Enjoy your time with yourself. You are probably surrounded by people all day long – house mates, class mates, family, or just random people on the street. As a student, you most probably have all those deadlines to worry about, readings to be done, group chat drama to be handled and it all can all get too much sometimes. At the movies, you can forget about all of that; so relax, switch your phone off for those 2-3 hours, and enjoy the show.

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