Public Domain Image of blank cinema screen and empty, red cinema seats in front

I love going to the cinema alone

By Caitlin MacDonald

The pictures are just as good alone as with friends.

Recently, I read an article in The Independent that, amongst other things, claimed that going to the cinema alone was not an act of self-care. I agree with this article- going to the cinema isn’t self-care. In fact, going to the cinema with others isn’t even a form of self-care. It’s just a part of life. It exists as a ‘third space’ – a space outside of one’s home and workspace.

These third spaces are a crucial part of one’s social life, especially in our digital age of endless timelines and videos. It’s a way of getting off your phone, a chance to switch off, and escape from the storm of social media and ‘doomscrolling’. There’s nothing more freeing than taking a seat, switching off your phone and letting yourself dive straight into a film.

The cinema is already one of my favourite places to frequent. I love watching films and I love making a day out of it. The thrill of organising a meetup spot, choosing your seats, and planning on what to do afterwards. Popcorn, fountain drinks, nachos, if one is so inclined. My favourite thing, though, is getting to leave the real world behind. No notifications, no texts, no messages. Just the surrounding darkness when the lights dim, leaving you with only your own thoughts in front of a huge screen and surrounded by stereos. Afterwards, when the lights slowly come up, turning to your friends and gushing over your favourite parts or exclaiming, “What did we just watch?“.

However, while going to the cinema with friends is already a great way of passing time, I would argue that going by yourself is even better. Going alone negates the debates about timings and what film to go see. It means you don’t have to hang about after by the toilets waiting for mates or having to take part in the awkward shuffle during the congestion by the exits and stairs. It’s an escape, a retreat. Sitting by yourself in the expansive dark, your attention focused solely on the screen in front of you. It won’t solve any worries or concerns you have, but it does mean that for a few hours, you can forget. Sure, after the film ends, you return to the real world of schedules and deadlines. But just for a moment, you escape it all.

Students in Glasgow looking for a good time at the cinema (either alone or with friends) can look no further than the Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), the home of independent film in Scotland. Just off of Sauchiehall Street in the city centre, the GFT offers a free 15-25 card that allows people in this age bracket to take advantage of reduced ticket prices as well as a free youth screening every month, a perfect card for anyone looking to go to the cinema on a budget. In addition to this, the 15-25 card offers a loyalty point system which means moviegoers can accumulate points that can be redeemed for a free screening. What’s not to love?


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