Eventually, every romantic encounter must come to an end. While a magic carpet ride in Agrabah or a make out session on stage at a British secondary school may provide the finale to a date in some countries, lovers in the good ol’ U.S. of A. generally prefer a different finishing move: cinema. This holds true whether the film is to be watched on a screen that is big on a Friday night or under warm blankets on a puffy chair, and whether the relationship is 28 days or as many weeks old.
Because of their preeminent role in dating, movies provide useful subtext for a relationship. One of the most common (h)in(d)sightful phrases uttered by the newly single remains, “You know, we never did like the same movies.” If two people walk away from a movie with different thoughts and feelings it is likely that actual shared experiences will also be disjointed. When they meet the parents, hang out over Christmas vacation or spend a weekend at Uncle Bernie’s, they will reflect on these moments with similar disparity.
Watching a movie is one of the few dating activities where people observe and listen, rather than waiting for their turn to speak; this passivity allows films to give mementos and spirit us away. How someone feels about a movie is how they feel about the things in life that inspired that movie. In short, movies matter.
And because they matter, watch them deliberately. If going to the theater, arrive early enough to get good seats. Whisper hilarious insights to your date during the previews. Silence your phone, idiot; do not let a text from some third party break the suspension of disbelief. Sneak in treats because the only thing more fun than individual roguery is making it collaborative; conduct a heist against the theater’s concession stand profits. When renting, visit the store together or converse over the phone throughout the rental process. When the movie ends, discuss. Celebrate the opinions you share and quickly agree to disagree on points of separation. Movies matter, like the sound of music, but don’t turn it into bloodsport. Always provide feedback and insights on your partner’s ideas even if you think they’re superbad. Don’t let their mind wander to thoughts of someone else who might have a more inspired perspective on the film, particularly their best friend’s girl. Credit their arguments first, but leave these as flotsam and jetsam in the wake of your own positions.
Accordingly, do not take movies or the feelings they evoke lightly. Films are constructed to provide a great escape and transform thoughts, so allow them to do so. Take a road trip through your partner’s tastes in movies, but never settle far away from where you began.
EXCEPTION: When the movie is used only as a prelude to kissing on a dark knight, such reflection is likely counterproductive. Just avoid Holocaust films.