Do or Don’t: Seeing Movies Alone

Do you ever go to movies alone? There’s something really fun about going to the theatre, buying a ticket, riding up the eight zillion escalators, finding the perfect seat, eating the pizza you snuck in, and watching a movie all by yourself (surrounded by strangers). You can enjoy the movie without wondering what your friend is thinking; and after it’s done, you can walk home mulling it all over. I love it. So, I’m curious: Do you like seeing movies alone, or do you prefer to go with friends?

The next movie I’d like to see solo is The Descendants with George Clooney. Critics have been flipping out. “To call The Descendants perfect would be a kind of insult,” raved A.O. Scott in his New York Times review, “a betrayal of its commitment to, and celebration of, human imperfection.”

  1. I actually love to watch movies alone, I also love doing it with friends and family but alone sometimes it’s just so relaxing!!

  2. I love watching movies when I am alone. Last saturday I saw 3 films: Fill the Void, Hannah Arendt and The Butler. With 4 kids, it is not easy to go to the cinema in the evening. That is why I download them. Being a French teacher, I especially want to see the latest French movies.

  3. Actually, most of the time I do see movies alone. I can’t say that is by design most of the time. Although I do love to see certain movies (many) by myself, the sad truth is that I just don’t have anyone that I go to the movies with. I am divorced and hitting 70 in a year and I spend most of my time alone anyway as I just haven’t been able to hook up with any one movie going friend, and it’s been a long time so I’m thinking that situation is not going to change, so I make the best of the situation and go alone and really enjoy most of the great flicks I choose to see. I do take my young grandchildren to the movies, and that’s always fun as well.

  4. Actually, most of the time I do see movies alone. I can’t say that is by design most of the time. Although I do love to see certain movies (many) by myself, the sad truth is that I just don’t have anyone that I go to the movies with. I am divorced and hitting 70 in a year and I spend most of my time alone anyway as I just haven’t been able to hook up with any one movie going friend, and it’s been a long time so I’m thinking that situation is not going to change, so I make the best of the situation and go alone and really enjoy most of the great flicks I choose to see. I do take my young grandchildren to the movies, and that’s always fun as well.

    • Molly says...

      I know that your comment is old and you may not see this reply, but I just wanted to say hi. Hopefully your situation has changed. I hope you have found a friend to go see movies with and drink coffee with and laugh with. Life is full of pleasant little surprises.

  5. I loved The Descendents. It was subtle, but made an impact on the hearts strings. I am beginning movie critiquing, check it out:

    You give me motivation and are such a positive role-model.

    Cheers, Lacy

  6. LV says...

    Yes, I love going to the movies alone. I do it all the time. I especially love going to matinees on a weekday. It is the greatest thing and a treat I love to experience on a pretty regular basis.

  7. Anonymous says...

    I just recently stumbled across your blog last week and I must say I am obsessed with trying to read every post any free chance I get during the day. This morning while avoiding answering my e-mails and before getting my coffee I stumbled across this article from November. The Descendants was actually the first movie I had enough courage to go and see alone. I would plan to see movies alone numerous times but always chickend out. When I finally went- I wont lie- I HAD THE BEST TIME. I am also having the best time reading everything you have to say!


  8. Anonymous says...

    One time I was really sad so I went to go and see the Horse Whisperer by myself. Bad idea. Luckily I didn’t’ walk out because it got happier and happier after the part that almost killed me. That was the only movie I saw alone. Don’t know if I can do it again after that. ;)

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  10. I use this as a threat to jump start my fiance into taking me to a movie! Lol. But honestly, I do miss it and j.cro is right, early session is much better.

  11. I love love love going to the movies on my own. Nothing wrong with going with friends, but going on my own definitely has its advantages. For one, you’re right – you can just settle in and watch without wondering what he/she is thinking about the movie.

    Also, you can sit wherever you like – whenever I go with other people, they always want to sit too close or too far away. I like to sit so the screen just barely extends to my peripheral vision (so kind of in the middle). That way I feel immersed in the story but not like I’m going to fall into the scene. ;)

  12. I simply LOVE to go the movies alone. And not many people get it! My boyfriend especially!!! He hates when I go alone… lol
    One of the things I love most about it, is the feeling of freedom: you can do whatever you want – laugh out loud, eat junk food, order a huge popcorn all to your self…
    Any ways… I’m just glad to find out there are more people like me out there!

  13. FourEleven says...

    I love going to movies alone, especially when it’s a near-empty theatre. When the lights dim, I feel cocooned in my own world for the next two hours. Being able to quietly contemplate the movie after the lights come up – no justifications to others – is one of my favourite things. The after-image of the experience and delayed thoughts can be as equally affecting as watching the film itself.

  14. The movie is amazing & I am in healthcare so it is very true to that aspect.

    I love to go with my husband – we always spend way to much money- popcorn & pickles is a must have, but you really cant do it any other way…! I do also like to go alone, but it’s nice to see my husband sitting next to me, sometimes we will look at each other at certain parts of the movie and we know just what each other is thinking :)

  15. LV says...

    I actually enjoy going to the movies alone. I do end up going with friends most of the time these days, but there are plenty of times I went to the movies, got those movie nachos with extra cheese and jalapenos, paid for the overpriced drink and had a good ol time all by myself:-)


  16. Anonymous says...

    definitely a do! i am in grad school and between my school obligations, nannying, and friends, it is a GREAT way to relax, unwind, and enjoy personal time alone :)

  17. I really don’t think seeing a movie alone is super necessary. Take the opportunity to reach out to someone you don’t know so well and have a new kind of movie wrap-up convo!

  18. Definitely a DO! Going to the movies alone is one of my most favorite things to do by myself. Haven’t gone in quite some time, but something I cherish. The overly dramatic and oddball movies I like to see make it hard to find someone nearly as eager to go with, so I say what the heck and go it alone. :)

  19. Anonymous says...

    I had to learn to go alone. I lived in Miami for a while and working as a writer gave me a crazy schedule, so I could never meet up with friends for dinner and a movie.
    It was the best thing that happened to me, and now in NYC it’s even better. I just decide to go on my way home, any given day, at any time.

  20. Ana says...

    I like both, it depends on my mood, the kind of movie I’m going to watch and of course who wants to go. There’s something funny when people asks you if the sit next to you is available an you say yes and they’re like, yes? you came alone?

  21. yes, I’m a huge fan of seeing a movie alone. It’s not that I prefer it but I don’t mind it. I also often go out and eat alone during the day…it’s like a little day with myself. Sometimes I read the paper or a book or whatever but I’ve definitely just sat there with my own thoughts. It’s kind of liberating actually. I’m going to go see Breaking Dawn this week by myself since there is no way I can get my husband to go…a matinee when I have the babysitter will be perfect.

  22. I love going to see films alone. It’s perfect for Saturdays when you don’t necessarily feel like cleaning but want to be productive.

    And it’s also fun to go after I get off work on a random week day and head to the little indie theater down the street with my popcorn, soda, or sour patch kids (being sure to remove the plastic bag so I don’t disturb the other movie goers, of course :)

  23. nam says...

    I totally love watching movies by myself.I watch as many as i can, as often as i can! I love having a massive helping of popcorn & pepsi to my self. I laugh out loud & cry & totally live it up in the movie hall!
    I recommend it to everyone :)

  24. Daphne says...

    Yes! I watch movies alone ALL THE TIME and people around me thinks it’s weird. I find it incredibly satisfying though. Usually, I’d dress up to my best and watch a movie on a day and time when there’s less people. It’s like a date with myself (:

  25. I haven’t seen a movie by myself in years. In fact, I think I’ve only done it once. It was Memoirs of a Geisha and I remember thinking that I wished I had tried to get someone to come so that they could have talked me out of it! Memoirs of a Geisha was boring :)

    I’ve recently taken to watching my sitcoms by myself on Hulu during slow hours at work. I like really high energy (read: annoying) comedies like Community and Happy Endings, and it’s nice to watch them without feeling like I’m torturing my husband or friends, and just laugh laugh laugh whenever I want :)

  26. I’ve never been to the cinema alone, but I might try it sometime soon

  27. For me, it take a certain mood and a certain type of movie for the `going to the theatre by myself` experience to be enjoyable. Movies like `The Descendants` definitely falls in the type category. As for the mood, it’s hard to define, but I guess it’s just about the need to be alone sometimes.

  28. I absolutely love going to movies alone. Especially matinees. I don’t see what’s wrong with it at all. Why should I have to miss a movie because I can’t talk someone else into seeing it? It’s a fun little adventure. I also don’t mind eating alone, as long as I have a book or something to entertain me.

    I had to laugh about the zillions of escalators thing. True in big cities, but most movie theaters in Colorado don’t have escalators. Everything is on one level.

  29. Amanda says...

    I go to movies by myself all the time! I went to see Martha Marcy May Marlene by myself after work the day it opened, and almost everyone in the theatre was there alone! My gradnpa loved movies and would go by himself all the time, so I think that paved the way for me to see it as something normal.

    The one thing I’m not good at is going to dinner alone. If I run out to grab lunch I’ll take a book, but I’ve never been good at eating dinner in a restaurant by myself without something to use as a distraction. I feel like that’s a sign of truly being comfortable with yourself!

  30. Salut la belle! Great post. I ADORE going to the movies alone. Before my son was born, I’d go to the movies in Paris every weeks, twice a week! That’s actually one of the things I miss the most since becoming a mum is my alone time at the pictures. Bisous my dear xx

  31. It’s one of my favorite activities! For the exact reasons you listed.

  32. I’ve seen movies by myself before. I usually go to a matinee during the day… I don’t think i would ever go to the premier of a movie alone though

  33. I love going to the movies alone. In fact, I was trying to go this afternoon to an early showing of Breaking Dawn but I couldn’t get there in time. I’ll just wait until after the hubbub of the weekend to see it at a matinee next week. Anyway, I love being in the theatre in the early part of the day, by myself, with almost no one else around. It’s a great experience.

  34. The zillion escalators at the movies is definitely an NYC thing. The first time I did it, I freaked out! In LA we have at most 2 floors but most of our theaters require no escalators at all! I watched ALOT of movies by myself when I was living in Europe. I loved it, except for when it was a sad movie then I had no one to hold my hand. :(

  35. I really enjoy seeing movies on my own. Not having to worry about what the other person thinks makes for a different experience. Since having a baby though, I’ve started going to “Stars and Strollers” movies where the theatre is open to moms (or dads) and their babies. The lights are a bit brighter and the sound not quite as loud, but the films are still new features. Not alone exactly, but it’s an easy way for new parents to get out and see a movie.

  36. I love going to movies alone. I put my kids to bed and head out to the movies, pure joy!

  37. Anonymous says...

    I love going to certain movies on my own. Just like you said, you can get into it and not worry about whether the person you’re with likes it or not. I keep thinking I’ll play hooky one day and go see a matinee and not tell anyone! -lbs

  38. Danielle says...

    I havent gone alone in quite some time but i felt it was freeing! Your practically alone anyways whether your with friends or a room full of people, since your silently watching the film anyways. I recommend doing it if you havent, its great! Friends of mine thought it was odd last time I mentioned going solo, as if it was sad maybe!? but its great you must try it folks!

  39. I love seeing movies alone! Sitting in a dark room, in which you are not supposed to talk, is one of the activities most conducive to being alone!

  40. I guess I’m gonna choose a packet of nachos as my companion :)
    (Wanting to try this for soooo long…)

  41. This is something I’ve always wanted to do but ever since a friend told me about her experience I’ve been too nervous to try. The first, and only time, she went to the movies alone. Some strange guy sat next to her and told her he’d bought them popcorn. Awkward!

  42. I go to the movies by myself all the time, just love it! My friends have parents in the film and theatre world and are in dramaschool themselves, so they always talk about how well the acting was etc., so it’s never just watching and falling in love with the story…
    when I go by myself it’s like going on a date with me. Just a little treat :)

  43. seeing movies alone is one of my favorite things to do!

  44. I used to love seeing movies alone until I got groped in a full theater by an old man sitting next to me. Now I feel such anxiety when people sit next to me in theaters, I always go with someone I know and sit on the end.

  45. Yes! I also love going to the movies by myself! :)

  46. A neighbour of ours isn’t married, but was in a long-term relationship with a lovely woman, with whom he’d often go to see movies. After she passed away, he would go to see movies without anyone else, but tell friends that he was going to see a movie with an old girlfriend.

    It might be the sweetest and saddest love story that I’ve ever heard and whenever someone mentions going to the movies alone, it’s the first thing that I think about.

  47. I think this is a DO. I figure you aren’t chatting/visiting at the movies anyway and it’s nice to spend some time with yourself.

  48. I ADORE going to the cinema alone! One of my favourite things to do.

  49. TrishO says...

    I go alone all the time. It started when my kids were little and I was nursing. I needed some out of the house time and had about two hours until I needed to nurse again. So I started going to the movies. It was fun, relaxing, and just me (as only a new mom can appreciate). My kids are 7 and 9 now but I still use this as me time. It is one of my favorite things. Great post

  50. I like movies alone, but have started to prefer it with friends. Sometimes it’s awkward going alone, depending on where you are. Some cities seem to be more loner-like and it’s normal to go to restaurants or movies alone. Other cities it seems like everyone has a friend or kid in tow. Sometimes going alone I feel like I should have someone to go with, or that people wonder why I don’t…. but, I like going to movies on a whim.

  51. I love going by myself. I started going to the movies solo when I was studying film at university. Since finishing uni I haven’t been in years but it tend to go for a guilty pleasure (I’m thinking of going to see the new Twilight film on my own, my partner definitely won’t come).

  52. Di89 says...

    I don’t mind usually but I live in the UK (london area) where you are considered ‘sad’ (pathetic and friendless) if you go to certain places alone eg for a meal, a coffee or worst of all – a movie! Gasp…
    I wish in lived in another country…:(

  53. i don´t really understand why the stigma or hesitation about seeing a movie alone.

  54. I love seeing movies alone. It’s kind of like a little reprieve from everything. And as a single gal, I can’t always count on having someone to go with.

  55. I love going by myself. A lot of people think I’m strange but it’s one of my fav little escapes.

  56. It’s my favorite… in fact, I might go do that tomorrow… matinees are my favorite!

  57. I still need to see a movie solo…My hubby has done it and said I should too! :)

  58. Yes! I love taking myself out to a movie or out to lunch with just a great book to read. That movie looks awesome.

  59. elisa says...

    I’d never gone to movies alone, but we just bought a house in this awesome neighborhood in Seattle and there is a really cool old movie theatre 2 blocks away. A few weeks ago my husband was out with our 14 month old son and decided to walk down to the theatre and see the final Harry Potter (it’s a second run theatre). I didn’t have to share my popcorn and I loved walking home alone. It was great!

    I’m thinking of sneaking out to see The Help this weekend. Glad I’m not the only one who does this. Sort of a guilty pleasure!

  60. I’ll never forget my first solo movie, a French one called When the Cat’s Away. It has a soft spot in my heart! I love seeing movies alone but I rarely get out to do it. The Descendants looks SO good. George Clooney is a true movie star in the best possible sense!

  61. I love seeing movies by myself! There is something wonderful about a movie by yourself – it’s like a mini vacation!

  62. I’ve always preferred going alone. I think it’s easier for me to disappear into the film. Now, with three kids, I’d take a movie with anyway I could get it!

  63. Anonymous says...

    I used to go to the movie alone a lot before and i totally love it. Nothing beats the feeling of having total control of choosing a movie by yourself. A good relaxation thing to do after a long day at work. Although sometimes choosing a seat can be tricky (you’ll be surprised as a girl going to the movie alone can be quite obvious! You could end up sitting to a creepy guy who tries try to chat you up and do all crepy stuffs like leaning closer and closer to you). But otherwise its a fun thing to do

  64. Back when I was single and just out of college with no real friend base, I went to a lot of movies and concerts alone. Sometimes it was lonely (mostly only during romantic comedies), but for the most part I really enjoyed myself because I only had my own enjoyment to “worry” about.

    At concerts, I would inevitably make new friends, sometimes just for the length of the concert, and sometimes longer. There is no easier bond (however temporary) than a shared love of music.

    I don’t ever want to miss out on something that makes me happy because I don’t have anyone else to do it with me.

  65. Anonymous says...

    I go to movies alone all the time! I go with my boyfriend or friends too, of course, but I enjoy going by myself. I have really ecclectic taste, and I’m not going to miss out on seeing something I like just because I can’t find anyone else interested in seeing it. I especially love it if I can slip out of work a little early and go to a late afternoon movie during the week! There’s something about it that makes me feel like I’m playing hookie, but also like a really independent woman.

  66. I did, once. I felt better about doing it the city where I felt more anonymous, since it would be seen as just SAD in my smaller town. I saw Smilla’s Sense of Snow, and actually felt so liberated and free. When I started dating my now-husband, he couldn’t believe that I had done something like that, and felt sorry for my “aloneness”…lol. I still try to make him understand that time in my life, and while I wouldn’t trade the time I had being “attached” to him, I sometimes wish that period of liberation had been a bit longer.

  67. when i was single, i loved going to a late night movie all by myself. it was so relaxing to just sit and watch without anyone else around. now that i’m engaged, i usually want to see movies with my guy . . . i need to decompress afterwards by talking to him about it!

  68. I think it’s a do! why not? I would watch them at home on my couch alone:)

  69. I really ONLY like to go alone. Going to the movies with someone else seems like too much work… and pressure. It feels a lot more relaxed to go enjoy it by myself.

  70. For sure! What’s not to love about seeing any movie you want and having the popcorn and Diet Coke ALL to yourself! Glad you agree, Joanna!

  71. I would go to the movies alone when I lived in NYC. and I loved going to escape the heat of summer nights. A perfect treat. This movie looks amazing!

  72. I love going by myself. I find it interesting that other people seem to think a woman going to a movie alone is somehow strange? I love movies, and I enjoy going alone by choice sometimes!

  73. I love seeing movies alone. I started when I was living on the West Coast and didn’t know anybody and carried it with me during my time in NYC where I knew a lot of people! Now that I’m in an area with no close friends, I suspect I’ll continue with my solo movie going…

  74. I used to do it fairly regularly, and enjoyed it, but haven’t in a while. (When my husband and I were dating long-distance, we used to have what we called “trans-continental movie dates”–we’d pick a movie and see it on the same day, and then talk about it the following evening.

    Also I really, really want to see “The Descendants.”

  75. I’ve never actually done it! But have always thought it would be fun…maybe I’ll try it one of these weekends my husband is away on a job!

  76. omg, i miss doing that in nyc (A LOT)
    i’ve done it a few times here on this little caribbean island, but it’s just not the same. the movies are soooo not the same as in the states. there is this really fun restaurant on st john that does dinner and a movie from the 80’s – amazing!!!
    i also love george clooney and will add this to my netflix list, thank you!

  77. I love to go with my husband and/or with my children but I also love to go by myself, usually when kids are or were in school. Some times it’s the only way I can see a movie. I told my sister I was going to a movie by myself one day and she said she never thought to go by herself and I was floored (she has 6 kids but all are in school).

  78. yes, I like this sometimes – but I think I prefer a light lunch alone, mulling over a book with a glass of pinot and something nice to eat.

    and oh my god, I have to go check out this movie. I LOVE George Cluny. He is aging so well it’s not even fair to call it aging – ripening, perhaps, is better. I think our entire culture could take a tip from Cluny about the sexiness of charisma and a good smile when paired with some lines on the face and some silver hair.

    And how much did you love Up in the Air? I was so glad that he didn’t end up with the girl – it would have destroyed the film’s nuance AND its maturity. I cannot WAIT to see another paean to human imperfection with this man. Cluny is where it’s at!!

  79. I love seeing movies alone, it can be lots of fun! Last movie I saw alone was Martha Marcy May Marlene. It was a great film, but I only wish I had someone to discuss the ending with!

  80. Oddly enough, I’ve never actually gone to see a movie by myself. Might be adding that to my ‘to dos’ before the year is out!

  81. I adore seeing movies by myself, I go every Tuesday (cheap movie night). This Tuesday I saw ‘Martha Mercy May Marlene’.

  82. I don’t think I’ve EVER done it! But you made it sound so delightful I’m getting tempted to go see one by myself tomorrow. And I love George Clooney so I can’t wait to see this movie! :)

    Callie @ A Chance To Die