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Yes, You Can: Go to the Movies By Yourself

This is part of my Solo Living: Yes You Can series. Click here to find the intro and all the topics.

I almost feel like this post is unnecessary. But there may still be some people out there who can't imagine going out by themselves and buying a ticket in a theater where they will sit alone and finding it enjoyable.

Full truth -- I have been going to movies by myself since high school, and in all honesty, it's probably my preferred way to do it. Sometimes -- ON VERY RARE OCCASIONS -- I go to a theater with a friend. This person must be very special. They can't commit any of the movie theater sins, such as talking, texting, pointing out my emotions, and eating giant handfuls of popcorn, instead of one piece at a time, savoring it.

I recall the first time I experienced the cinema solo. I wanted to see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner. I also wanted to see another movie, but I can't remember what it was. Maybe it was Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. Those two films both came out in summer of 1991, so it's a strong possibility. None of my friends or family wanted to see the movie, so I asked my Mom to drop me off at the movie theater at a time that would allow me to watch two movies in a row back to back. Although I was unsure what it would be like, I had read an article in a magazine about going to the movies by yourself and how great it was. I found that I enjoyed it thoroughly in a way that I didn't expect.

Years go by, and although I still saw plenty of movies with others, I continued to see movies alone when it was necessary. My older sister was a frequent movie pal, as well as a few college friends. There were particular people that always seemed to be down for a movie. Around college and grad school, I was always seemed to have friends that were movie buffs like me and not too picky about the genres or actors.

These days, to be honest, it's normally easier to just go alone. As a cinephile, I try to keep up with what movies are coming out. Although I can't see everything, I am aware of what is coming out across genres, styles, directors, and both indie and mainstream films. If I want to see a blockbuster, like something from a franchise or a superhero movie, it's not too hard to find a buddy, but if you want to see something like Oldroyd's Lady MacBeth, Coppola's The Beguiled, or Scorsese's Silence, most people don't know what the movie is about and feel apprehensive about seeing an independent picture. Plus many feel meh-ish about going to movie theaters in general and would rather chill at home with streaming services.

Sometimes I can talk people into going with me, but most of the time because of scheduling, cost, disinterest in the pictures I want to see, or other plans, I end up going alone. And that's just fine with me.

Here are reasons it's better to go alone.

  • No one will interrupt your experience with questions, annoying comments, their "analysis" of the movie while you are trying to watch the picture. 
  • This is related to the first point, but no one to slyly or gleefully tell that their prediction came true: "I knew it." Please, just shut up. I don't care.
  • No annoying snack sharing will happen. No, I don't want to share a drink with you. And do you really have to take giant handfuls of popcorn at once, removing all the buttery topping I applied?
  • If there is a heavy theme or thought-provoking plot, you can have time to let it soak and gather your thoughts before having to talk. I once dated a guy who knew I loved movies. As soon as we could finish the picture, especially if I was crying, he would say, "What did you think?" Too soon, man, too soon. 
  • It's easier to find seats because you are one. 
The only thing that is hard about going alone, is there is no one to "watch your stuff" for you if you have to get up to use the bathroom, so you have to either lug everything with you or trust humanity by leaving yours things unattended. Try going to movies by yourself if you have never done so. You may discover it's the best decision you ever made.