I vividly remember the first time I ever went to the movie theater to see a movie by myself. It was a rainy night in 2009. My girlfriend was out of town and I couldn’t convince any of my friends to see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus with me. Which is not too surprising since this film had a relatively quiet release and had only really caught my interest because it featured Heath Ledger in his last role prior to his death. In fact he didn’t quite finish the film and it had to be reworked with a little bit of Johnny Depp, a dash of Colin Farrell and some Jude Law.
I recall being nervous to go to a movie by myself. I remember my girlfriend found it peculiar and at some point I was having second thoughts. I was paranoid that the strangers around me would see I was alone and they would wonder why I would do such a dumb thing. As the previews begun I felt my fear wash away. I felt myself eager to transition into a temporary bliss of distraction. And I realized how freeing it can be to do something alone.
As I reflect on that experience I start to wonder why there is such a stigma to seeing movies alone. I realize, it’s less about the act of watching a movie, which is an act that is inherently isolated, and more about the structure of our society. We live in a society that sees going outside as an opportunity for social interactions and staying inside as an opportunity for isolation. It’s the same reason that people get odd looks when they go to a sit down restaurant and ask for a table for one. Or why most people feel odd going out for a drink at the local bar by themselves. It seems that the outside world is biased towards socializing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love socializing. I love seeing movies with my friends. In fact Jesse and I might not be friends if I insisted on seeing every movie alone. Many relationships have blossomed in the sticky aisles of the theater. It feels like an event, like a reason to go out, like a big party for strangers who have at least one thing in common with you. Seeing movies with friends and family is a beautiful thing. But so is doing it alone.
On Saturday I attended a movie by myself for only the third time in my life (the second being A Quiet Place). It was Solo: A Star Wars Story. The title, and the newly minted (cheesy) origin story behind Han’s surname, could not have been better. The experience of being alone and letting the Star Wars universe wash over me made it more…fun, childlike almost. I didn’t have to think about what my friends thought. Or worry about a girl thinking I’m nerdy for my giddiness in every scene involving Lando. I could just enjoy, not think, and be alone in my opinion.
That’s the beauty of being alone. You have space to let your true opinions and emotions grow. The ability to dive deeper into what an event means to you. To sit back and check in with yourself before having to play the awkward, “so, what’d ya think?” game immediately following the credits. It’s a time for self-reflection and enjoyment.
Of course, I never would have seen Solo alone had I not bought a year subscription to MoviePass. The idea of going to the theater alone was actually one of the big draws to my purchase. I don’t have many friends who love going to the movies and I myself have shied away from the theater in recent years. But since I purchased a MoviePass I feel a sense of freedom, and responsibility, to attend as many movies as I can and I’ve fallen in love with going to movies again. Whether or not any one else will go with me doesn’t matter because I’ve learned how to fly solo (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Worth full theater price? Yes whether you are a loner or a social butterfly.
Movies seen with MoviePass:
- A Quiet Place
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
How much MoviePass has paid for my movies: $18.28, 2 movies
How much I paid for MoviePass: $89.95 (year subscription)