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© Alex Mellon
© Alex Mellon | Alex Mellon
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Why Going to the Cinema on your Own is the Best

Picture of Cassam Looch
Film Editor
Updated: 18 April 2017

We watch films on our own all the time. In fact, its something of a rarity to schedule your evening viewing around other people these days, so why is it that when watching the newest, most hyped movies around that we insist on making it a group activity? 

Cinema going should be a hassle-free experience and going solo should be the default. Here’s why lone cinema expeditions are the best.

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I decided to put my money where my mouth is for this article. It would have been easy for me to sit here and type out a list based on my professional screening experiences. As a critic, the majority of films you see are meant to be viewed with other critics. Sure, there are the evening screenings when you can usually bring a guest, but those are the exception, not the rule.

Either way, these aren’t really the same thing as paying for a ticket and going to a public screening on your own.

So I went all the way. I had already resigned myself to looking, and feeling like a loser, but this is all in the name of journalism… at least that’s what I tried to tell myself.

Go big or go home… or go to the cinema on your own. Whatever, that’s the ethos I approached this experiment with and with that in mind I had my first revelation.

Watch whatever you like

You’re not restricted by anyone else’s choices. There is no pressure to please anybody. You’re not trying to ‘set the tone’ for the evening. You don’t have to impress a date or appease a disparate group of mates. The certifications are irrelevant. Little nephew Billy won’t get to spoil the fun today. I’m thinking something classy and high-brow.

Anyway, I chose Fifty Shades Darker.

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No one will stand you up or be late

If, like me, you are a stickler for punctuality, the text five minutes before your chosen film is about to start is the most annoying thing imaginable. Worse still, we’ve all been stood up by friends or a date after we’ve had our hearts set on watching a movie.

Going into a film knowing that the only person that can let you down is you, is liberating. You don’t have to spend hours picking out an outfit, you can just turn up in joggers and trainers if you wish.

Go at whatever time you please

Why limit yourself to going at peak time showings, paying more for the privilege of a crowded cinema at an inconvenient time. When organising for more than one person, you invariably end up having to satisfy all parties, which usually means going at a time that you wouldn’t otherwise opt for.

I went to watch my film of choice early on Saturday, leaving me plenty of time to get home and re-establish my manly status, after watching Jamie Dornan flaunt his stuff, by watching the big football game. Because I’m a man. And a loser.

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Pick any cinema you want

No, I don’t want to go to Leicester Square to watch a film. It’s miles away from my home and ridiculously overpriced. Then again, I don’t want to be seen going to watch 50 Shades Darker on my own at my local cinema either.

I could go wherever I wanted. Of course, I ended up in Leicester Square, at the most expensive cinema in London.

Sit wherever you fancy

The ultimate nightmare in this situation is your friendly ticket seller asking THE question. ‘Just the one ticket today?’

Yes thanks. I just want one ticket. One. You can avoid this by booking online, but in reality no one cares if you go on your own. In fact, a quick poll around the Culture Trip office revealed that most people prefer to go to the cinema on their own. There were plenty of people at my screening who appeared to be flying solo. It’s nothing to be worried about.

You also get to sit wherever you want. No need to accommodate aisle seat hoggers or sit right in front of the screen for that group that always leaves it late.

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You can avoid making polite conversation

I arrived in plenty of time to watch the trailers. A rare treat these days, and one I could fully enjoy without having to talk to anyone. I didn’t have to listen to someone say ‘oh, I won’t be watching that…’ or ‘I love him in that TV show!’

Enjoy the silence.

No need to buy expensive snacks

‘That will be £10 please.’

I just want some coke and some jelly babies damn it. In fact, I don’t want anything at all. It’s only two hours, and you know what? I can survive that time without stuffing my face with over-priced, unhealthy snacks.

Plus I snuck in some drinks in my pocket anyway. Clever and stingy… the total package.

Flirt and get rejected without an audience

Now, here’s something you might never have thought of. Are your mates actually hindering your love life? Do you feel less confident with them watching on? Nothing screams ‘SINGLE!’ like a man on his own at a screening of 50 Shades. 

But that’s not the point. Cinema trips really are the worst possible dates. You want to sit in complete silence, for two hours, surrounded by strangers whilst focussing on a film… as a date? It doesn’t work, and is a social convention that makes zero sense.

I’m a classy guy, so didn’t try this, but I reckon you could easily strike up a conversation with a like-minded soul after the film, and then get rejected on your way home without a witnessing friend.

And that was my solo trip to the cinema. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, and I genuinely came out of it thinking that watching films on your own is the best way to experience them.

Not that there was any saving 50 Shades Darker… that was awful.