We do it all the time.
I am sure all of us have found ourselves sitting in a room, the only light source coming from a TV or computer screen, watching a movie or TV show all alone.
Within the confines of a home, this is totally okay. Heck, the act of watching movies and shows stag has become an acceptable practice in almost any location. A special shout out can be given to tablets, smartphones, Netflix, and HBO Go for making this dream a reality. But, if it is totally normal for someone to be in complete solitude and stare at a tiny screen for hours at a time, then why is it socially unacceptable for someone to go to a movie theater alone?
This thought constantly came to mind whenever I found myself being turned down by my buds after asking if they would like to see “that great film that just came out. Ya know, the one with (insert actor / actress here). I showed you the trailer weeks ago.”
Many a time have I wanted to see a film and passed because I was scared of going stag. Who goes to the theater alone, right? Well, it was about time I conquered that petty fear. That’s right, today I went to a theater and saw a movie solo. And you know what? It was pretty awesome.
After a long day of traveling from Ft. Lauderdale to Boston, I decided that I should unwind by catching a flick at one of the many theaters nearby. During my hour-long layover in Atlanta, I frantically messaged people asking whether they would like to catch up and see a movie. After receiving quite a few replies of rejection, I decided that today would be my day. It was time for me to suck it up and do what I wanted to do and I was going to like it too.
Originally I planned on seeing Nebraska at the historic Coolidge Corner Theater. But by the time I dropped off my baggage in my dorm, I decided that I would be cutting it close. Finally I decided on seeing The Dallas Buyers Club.
I will admit, I did feel a bit awkward standing in line alone to get my usual popcorn and water. But nothing could really compare to the feeling of sitting in a theater and noticing how everyone had some sort of movie partner with them. It was odd. I never really noticed this before but that is probably because I always went with a buddy myself.
But anyway, there I was. It was me, my popcorn, and an empty seat on each side of me. Throughout the film I found myself feeling contemplative. I became quite reflective not only of the film but of myself. It was that similar feeling of self-awareness that one gets as they practice yoga. In that moment, this was my ananda (“bliss”).
I found that being alone allowed me to focus more on every aspect of the film. This included everything from the character development to the set up of each and every shot. Eventually I began to think about who I am as a storyteller and a filmmaker. I thought about where I wanted to take my craft. What did I like about the film? Why did I like it? If I did not like something, how would I go about doing it? I was lost in the film and by the time the credits were rolling, I was sure that I had it all figured out.
Walking out of the theater, I felt refreshed. I had this newfound confidence that I could take on the world one screening room at a time.
Would I see a film all by myself again? Absolutely. If anything, I highly recommend taking yourself out on a movie date. You get in there, just you and your popcorn, and tell me how you feel after.