#398 Going to a movie by yourself

It happened by accident the first time.

Years ago I was staying after school but had late-night plans to meet friends at a downtown movie theater. I was going to catch a lift with my parents, watch the latest Bruce Willis blow-em-up, and then squeeze into my friend Mike’s rusty Saturn for the ride home.

Well, I got there late and the theater was already dark with hypnotic Fruitopia commercials playing as I walked in. I had no choice but to walk around whisper-yelling for a few minutes before eventually giving up and settling into a cozy seat at the back, figuring I’d find them after the show.

After the super slow-mo explosions faded into tearful hugs and scrolling credits the lights lifted up and my friends were nowhere to be seen. I felt like inventing a wireless telephone to send them electronic letters on the spot, but the network infrastructure just wasn’t ready. So I bundled up and walked home before sorting out the mixed up plans the next day.

And sure, it felt a bit strange sitting alone at the back of the movies for the first time, but you know what? It was pretty enjoyable too:

1. Dress down for Chinatown. When you’re chilling at home under the blanket you can relax in old sweats and classy bedhead, but when you’re on the town it’s time to squeeze into tight denim and well-coiffed hairdos. Now, when you’re hitting the multiplex solo you can fight the fashion police in your maroon nylon jumpsuit and tank top.

2. Bag the bucket. Enjoy the whole bucket of popcorn to yourself with worrying about getting stuck with the oily kernels and burnt bits at the bottom of the bag.

3. Kick open the escape hatch. When you’re lugging your baby brother to a Saturday afternoon cartoon or doing date night in a syrupy romcom that escape hatch is bolted on tight. But if you’re watching a movie alone and aren’t digging the flick you can just bail and see something else without guilt. Freedom is always nearby.

4. Squeeze into center seats. You know when you’re looking for seats in a crowded theater there’s never any twos or threes in the best spots? Well, there’s usually a single seat wedged in there! If you’re late just forget the front row and get into the game.

5. Invest in yourself. Because there’s something sweet about getting quality You Time. Sure, we’re social creatures who love dinner parties, basement hangouts, and constant texting… but it’s also good unplugging your brain and escaping into distant fantasy worlds on your own. No talking, no whispering, and plenty of armrests mean you can enjoy the solo trip.

Going to the movies by yourself is about growing up and growing older and growing more comfortable in your own skin. It fills you with the freedom of just being yourself and letting everything else just slip away …


Photos from: here, here, and here

69 thoughts on “#398 Going to a movie by yourself

  1. I remember when I was little, I saw a lady sitting by herself at the movies and I felt sad for her. I was thinking, “Aww, she couldn’t find anyone to go with and had to come alone …”

    Then, as years progressed, I thought, “Ya know, I bet that lady CHOSE to go alone! Going to a movie alone is a great You Time activity.” It’s not like you’re [supposed to be] doing much socializing during the movie anyway!

    1. I’ve never been to a movie by myself. I remember, though, that I used to feel sad for people that were out eating by themselves…. but ya know, its not that bad. I used to eat by myself all the time. From the time I graduated high school until the time I had my daughter, I loved being by myself out eating.

  2. I really like going to movies by myself. My work schedule is a bit wonky, so I always have off on Fridays – perfect time to treat yourself to a matinee viewing of something you know no one else will see with you.

  3. So true – you aren’t supposed to talk during the movie anyway; something that never makes sense on a first date!!
    Solo movie time all the way!

  4. Awesomeness. I did this the 1st time after Hurricane Katrina. With 13 of us crammed into a house only built for a family of 4, it was either this or kill all my realitives slowly with a whiffle bat one-by-one. I now can’t stand for someone to talk to me in the theatre.

    1. Haha! That made me laugh (not the reason for the living situation, of course, but the mental image of someone beating relatives with a whiffle bat)!

      People who talk throughout the whole movie … ugh. It makes me think of part of Ellen’s standup … “let’s watch and find out together, shall we?”


      (It’s all funny, but skip to about 52 seconds for the relevant part … haha)

  5. Oh, I go to films all the time alone. I usually don’t plan well in advance and available times rarely mesh with friends, school, kids and work…the last film I saw alone was this past Friday: “Secretariat.” Even if you are not a horse person (and I am), this is a must see movie – you will feel LAUNCHED and utterly awesome when you leave. We all had a great time!

  6. I love going to the movies by myself. And I write a lot of reviews on my site so I go a lot. I really like the lack of stress it brings. You don’t have to worry if you’re going to pick a movie the other person will like and you can stretch out.

  7. Just got home from seeing ‘Eat Love Pray’ on my own – and there was NO ONE else in the theatre! Made it doubly awesome!

    1. I saw that one by myself too! Just a couple weeks ago, the first movie I ever saw by myself – perfect choice, too! :) As I walked in I was hoping nobody else would be there, but there was a handful of people…

  8. I hate going to the movies with my friends…total talkers. And of course, I have to talk with them. But going alone…I’m silent, and everyone’s happy! Awesome!

    But the one time I DIDN’T want to go to a movie alone but I did was last year’s Rifftrax Christmas show. No one could go…yet I had the best time with the crowd that showed up there.

  9. Omg I LOVE. Solo movie trips. I did it the first time when I was in college. I was having a bad day, and really needed a cheer up, and half my friends refused to see a movie, and the other half refused to see what I wanted. And it just occured to me all of a sudden, hey I’m not in high school anymore, I’ve stopped trying to prove something ages ago, so why can’t I just take myself to the movies on a bad day. So I told everyone never mind, jumped on the nearest metro and it was AWESOME.

    I watched a show NO ONE would have enjoyed but me, over dosed on whatever I wanted, and walked out feeling so much better then when I went in!

  10. I have never done this. But reading everyones comments, and seeing as it is apparently awesome to warrant being no. 398 on the list… I think I am going to have to try it soon! Any tips on a good first-solo-movie experience or viewing choices? :)

  11. I have never actually understood why movie-watching isn’t a solitary pursuit!!
    …I absolutely understand if the movie is part of the plan for the day or night with a group or as a couple but… really… it is a solo ‘process’.

    …but then… I guess watching a movie is like masturbation.

    Absolutely pleasurable alone but dammit… so much better with others.


    I felt like inventing a wireless telephone to send them electronic letters on the spot, but the network infrastructure just wasn’t ready.

    hahahahahahahahhahahahahaha!!! and yeah… wow!

    1. I think it’s about choices. When you’re younger, your life is controlled by silly invisible rules, that dictate everything. Like, “if I go anywhere public alone, people will think I have no friends.” Whether that is true or not, doesn’t seem to matter.

      Honestly, there’s just something nice about going out, without the hassle of a bunch of people once in awhile, and has little to do with being sad. It’s just nice to be able to choose.

  12. I did this for the first time this summer to see Inception again. I can’t believe what I was missing out on this whole time.

    1. Me too! It was my third time seeing Inception and I didn’t have to worry about explaining what was going on to my friends… which was nice. :).

  13. I did this the first to see Wolf Man. One of the best decisions of my life, especially considering it turned a really crap mood into an awesome one. So scary at first but… Wow. More fun than expected

  14. I never understood the point of going to movies with people – you aren’t supposed to talk so why not just go solo?

    I love the private time; the lack of having to worry about what anyone else wants to see or what time & where to meet; no one trying to talk to me during the movie; no worrying about what to do after – I can do anything I want!

    Solo movie-going is AWESOME.

  15. I’ve only done it a couple of times because I feel like it makes me a bit of a saddo but truth be told it’s a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

  16. Bravo! I LOVE the “invest in yourself” concept. I’m an over-the-top extrovert, so the thought of sitting alone in a movie theatre or at a restaurant seemed strange. But I absolutely love doing this. Living with flair definitely has something to do with going to movies alone!

  17. Awww. I needed this today. My little sister just got a boy friend and I was feeling like there was nothing good about being single. Thanks for proving me wrong. :)

  18. I went to see Avatar by myself because I wanted to be totally engrossed in it without one of my friends talking through it. That was the first time I went to a movie alone and I loved it! Yep, it felt a little weird when I walked in but once the lights were dimmed, it was like I was in my living room. Very awesome!

  19. I’m surprised at how many young people enjoy this, as evidenced by the comments. I’m middle aged and adore seeing a flick solo. It never occurred to me that I may appear sad to others. Really, I think I look rather hip and independent…so there! HaHa! Actually, my idea of a fun day is going shopping, out to eat, then to a flick solo. No worries over where anyone else wants to shop, what they want to eat, and what flick they wish to see. I get my first choice on everything! I always enjoy my me-only days!

  20. i just did this friday night, it was awesome, EVERYONE that came in was paired up with the opposite sex, but not me, not tonight. i loved it, and think i’ll do it once a month.,

  21. I love going to movies alone. I get to watch what I want and definately have the escape hatch if the movie stinks! When I first started going solo, it was for my birthday since the local theater had free movies on your bday. So I would space out my day (all by myself) of eating @ restaurants (for free) and going to the movies by myself. It was a standing invite for anyone to join me but I wasn’t sad if they didn’t make it. I would leave that day for all the movies that I knew only I would enjoy. Monsters, Inc was on this list.

    1. Yes! Free birthday stuff is fantastic. Last year, Disneyworld had free admission on your birthday and I went alone because tickets are so expensive and I knew my friends wouldn’t be able to afford it. It was actually pretty fun chatting with random people in line.

  22. I couldn’t agree more with Point #5….. Sometimes I’m in the mood just to see a movie without having to discuss it with anyone afterwards (this can spoil the relaxing effect!)

  23. My friends mom always goes to the mvoies by herself and when we ask if she wants our company she always says no. She must have caught on to ‘me movie time’. Tomorrow when I have no school I fully intend on having a little ‘me movie time’ as well!

  24. me and the 6 other woody allen fans…we never fail to laugh out LOUD & we always stay for the entirety of the credits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<3 I ADORE a movie by myself….. I am the best date ever!!

  25. Going to the movies alone is my favorite way to see them. And I go to a LOT of movies. I agree with the posts above that it is doubly awesome if you are alone AND the only person in the theater. Movie nirvana!!!!

  26. Got to be honest, I go to the movies by myself alot and you know what, I love it. I mean I do go out with family and friends but I love going to the movies by myself. The alone time and enjoying the movie without having people asking whats going on is just great. I have about 20 or so movie stubs in my wallet, about 7 are with family, 6 with friends and the rest alone. The alone ones are the best movie experiance.

  27. completely agree movies on your own can be awesome- you’re so involved in the film and it’s such quality time by yourself. it does depend on the film though and the timing- a Saturday night rom com would not be the thing to go to alone for example!

  28. I actually went to a movie by myself for the first time a couple of weeks ago! :) I wonder if i’ll be giving it another go…

  29. Going to a movie by myself was one of my first collegiate independence activities I forced myself to do. It turned out to be fun and oddly liberating.

  30. I love going to the movies by myself. I was nervous and scared at first but after I did it, I actually felt liberated and proud that I could do something on my own. Next step – eat out alone and go for a beer at a bar by myself.

  31. I love going to the movies by myself! I’ve been doing it since high school. A lot of people think this is really odd and/or sad, but screw them! Although these days, I usually drag my husband along with me, when one of the other of us is traveling, I usually take the opportunity to slip into the back row and lose myself in a cheesy movie!

  32. I totally love going to the movies alone. I find it very soothing and calming. The best times are when there’s no one else (or just a handful of people) in the theater.

    Its a wonderful way to stretch out, relax, and enjoy the movie. And like some people pointed out above, its great to be able to pick the movie you like.

    I highly recommend this for anyone who hasn’t tried it!!

  33. I was planning to do this on my birthday but my plan was foiled as I ran into a close friend. New Year’s Day, perhaps. Wait, come to think of it, it’s pretty sad to be spending New Year’s that way…hm.

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