There are many things in life that you only value once they have been taken away from you. Out of the million things that have been affected by these prolonged months of isolation, I’ve felt the emptiness created by the closed movie theatres a lot. I have a soft spot for movie theatres for many reasons and it breaks my heart how I wasn’t able to enjoy the big screen in over a year. Now, as all the bad things in life come to a halt and we are slowly trying to return back to “normal”, cinemas have once again opened their doors to us. 

After more than a year, I’ve finally had the joy and privilege to go see a movie on the big screen instead of watching something on Netflix through my little phone or laptop. While the movie I saw is nothing to write home about, the experience that I had was nothing short of surreal. You know how people always talk about having a home theatre to watch movies in peace, without noisy people around them? Well, I experienced something very similar while watching Cruella on a Friday night, sitting in an almost empty movie hall with a mere 4 people (including me). It was weird, cool and a little heartbreaking, all at the same time.

Come to think of it, I’ve always wanted to enjoy a movie in an almost empty theatre with my popcorn and coca-cola but this experience was more or less just imposed on me (and others) by circumstances completely out of my control. It sucked that one of the most popular movies right now was almost empty on a Friday night. To make things a little worse, there wasn’t even popcorn that one could eat; though I’m sure by the time this thing goes up, we’ll have popcorn back again.

I wonder why it was that empty. Do people not know that theatres are open? Do they care enough to check if they are open again? Are they enjoying Netflix more now? Maybe, just maybe people don’t care about going to the cinemas as much? I really want to be proved wrong here.

I know people have come to enjoy many aspects of being alone and consuming entertainment in solitude but cinemas, of all things, deserve our love and our presence.

While there is always a time to watch a movie at home, not much can beat the joy of spontaneously going to a movie during the middle of the day or late night to zone out from the real world for a few hours. It is de-stressing, no doubt about that, but it can also be very empowering. I vividly remember the first time I went to see a movie alone. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to watch something without worrying what my friends were thinking about it or if I was the only one liking it. To be able to go sit in a crowded hall alone with a bunch of strangers actually does wonders to your confidence. Plus, I also didn’t have to share my popcorn with anyone, you see. Oh and yes, the comfortable seats. All that forms part of the experience.

But hold on, I’m not pushing you to go see a movie alone (though it will be very cool, believe me), you can always enjoy the company of your friends and family and experience something new with them if they are down for it. In the end, what matters is that we make time out of our very scheduled lives to go enjoy somebody’s work and have it impact the rest of our day(s). Cinemas have the charm to snatch us away into this space even if for a limited time. I also firmly believe that watching a movie on the big screen will always affect you differently than watching it on your laptop.

So, please stay safe and go watch a movie. Try to take in the allure of the red chairs and the faint scent of popcorn lurking everywhere because this experience is only exclusive to one place.  

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