My dad used to go to the movies alone. He loved movies and when he needed a night to himself, going to see a movie was a nice outlet. I remember growing up, I had the opposite feeling. I always wanted to go to the movies with my friends. A group of us looking forward to a new release, buying tickets in advance – it was a lot of fun. But then I started having a few instances where I wished I had gone on my own. You know that feeling when you are sitting beside someone who is not loving the movie and in fact the opposite – is hating the movie and you can feel their negative energy affect your movie watching experience?
It happened during Moulin Rouge. Which is a musical – which I love, but for me Moulin Rouge was mind breaking and innovative and I was enthralled. But not my friend sitting beside me. She hated it. And she let her distaste be known with sighs and comments to the point where I wanted to move away from her because I was loving the movie and she was ruining my experience. I mean – I loved the movie so much that my other friends and I all bought the soundtrack and we would belt those songs out when driving somewhere or just hanging out, for months afterward. Who knew that Obi Wan could belt out the songs like he did!
And for me, that was the last straw. I never wanted to have someone else’s energy affecting me in the movie theatre. And so I embraced the movie attending solo experience. And especially after having kids, it was nice “me” time. I remember when I was pregnant the first time with my girls, a colleague told me to go to the movie theatre as many times possible because after kids, that was one experience that would disappear for a while.
In fact, I prefer going to see movies on my own. What is the point in going with another person? If I want to talk about the movie, I can speak to them after we have both seen it. I don’t like to talk to people during movies. And usually, if the movie runs late, you are not discussing the movie afterwards anyway.
And I remember I was so glad making this decision when I went to see Dreamgirls. And although it is not everyone’s cup of tea, I really enjoyed it. But again, sitting in the movie theatre, with both seats beside me empty, gave me the peace to just immerse myself in the movie, which I did. And don’t get me wrong – I have seen other movies on my own, such as Avengers End Game, Black Panther, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Jumping the Broom etc… it is not all musicals for me.
And going to the movies alone, is not being alone because the majority of the people in the theatre want to see the movie also and the enjoyment of laughing or being startled together, is a pretty uniting feature.
But musicals for me are a very personal experience. I love music and I love films and when a musical is done right – it is perfection. Watching The Sound of Music every Christmas season just adds to the holidays. I still remember the first I saw it (I was 5) and how enthralled I was with it. Or the first time I saw West Side Story and how I cry every time at the end, with Natalie Woods impassioned speech. Or the first time I saw Funny Girl and could not believe how talented and stylish Barbara Streisand was and is. I had the My Fair Lady soundtrack when I was younger, and again, thought the movie was perfect, especially with Audrey Hepburn, and those amazing dresses she wore – simply magical.
Musicals are comforting to me – a warm blanket of beautiful songs, singing and stories. I was so happy to see that the legacy continued with La La Land, which modernized the musical but stayed true to its roots – perfection. And musicals are probably comforting to me because most Hindi movies I watched as a child were full of beautiful songs and dancing – my appreciation of musicals is probably a part of my DNA.
And so, with the pandemic restrictions lifting, I am looking forward to my next solo movie experience. I am thinking the new West Side Story in December is calling my name…..
But that’s just one Diva’s view.