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Top 10 Movies Best Enjoyed Alone

Top 10 Movies Best Enjoyed Alone
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Sometimes a solo-viewing experience is best required to really appreciate a movie. From Into the Wild, to Lost in Translation, to Her, these movies are best viewed without the company of others. WatchMojo ranks the top movies best enjoyed alone.

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Special thanks to our user liam_schell for suggesting this idea!

Top 10 Movies Best Enjoyed Alone

Make some popcorn, dim the lights and DON’T invite your friends! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Movies Best Enjoyed Alone.

For this list, we’re looking at films that, given their subject matter, mood and/or atmosphere, would be best watched in a quiet, contemplative and solitary setting.

#10: “Into the Wild” (2007)


A true story, and a bestselling book prior, “Into the Wild” recreates the experiences of Chris McCandless. He was a young man who left Fairfax, Virginia to live in the Alaskan wilderness by himself, to escape the trappings of city-based modernity and instead return a simpler way of life. It’s a brilliant character study about idealism, identity, our longing for meaning and the importance of human connection. While you’ll surely want to discuss the film with friends after having watched it, in order to do the movie justice and really soak in the questions it's asking, like its protagonist, you should embark on this voyage alone.

#9: “Contagion” (2011)


Directed by Steven Soderbergh, “Contagion” tells the story of a deadly viral pandemic. By following the experiences of specialists, every day citizens, and a conspiracy theorist, it delivers a visceral and complete multi-perspective view of what such a scenario would feel like. You should watch it for the star-studded cast and the grounded take on an apocalyptic scenario. Another reason to watch it alone though is to avoid seeing yourself become a paranoid germaphobe who begins casting sideways glances at your friends as you become increasingly suspicious that they might make you sick with whatever microscopic bacteria they’re surely crawling with.

#8: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)


Most of us have got one... you know, that past relationship that you'd love to forget? Well, in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, it’s medically possible to erase specific memories. Sadly… such is not the case in reality. But as this film explores, when it comes to formative interpersonal connections, even with medical intervention, moving on or forgetting is never that simple. This introspective comedy-drama takes a deep dive into the nature of relationships and will likely force you to mentally revisit your own past relationships with fresh insight. Considering the mental retrospective roadtrip that inevitably ensues… you’re going to want to be alone with your thoughts.

#7: “Requiem for a Dream” (2000)


“Requiem for a Dream” is undeniably a great film. But this story of addiction is as bleak as it is interesting. Without getting into any explicit spoilers, it does not end well for any of the characters, and while there are flashes of hope throughout, the path taken by the film to reach its dark conclusion is a rather grim one. You should absolutely watch it, yes, but you’re not going to have the heart or willpower to do much of anything for the rest of the night. So you might as well watch another Darren Aronofsky film that’s best watched alone - “The Fountain”.

#6: “The Road” (2009)


Adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s award-winning novel, “The Road” is a Viggo Mortensen-led post-apocalyptic drama. There are no zombies or authoritarian regimes. What we get instead is a bleak, barren, and sparsely populated landscape. For much of the film, it is just a father and son trying to survive in the wreckage of our world. It’s a slow-moving and contemplative take on the human will to survive even in the face of very little hope. It’s minimalistic about small things - moments, gestures, and the like. But you need to be similarly quiet and contemplative to appreciate the stoic beauty of it all, which company would only complicate.

#5: “Lost in Translation” (2003)


Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, “Lost in Translation” is a film that offers very little in terms of plot - it’s basically a premise and the slow development of platonic friendship. This lack of conventional plot points or on-screen developments might be frustrating to some viewers, and if you’ve got friends with you who are ill-suited for this decidedly uneventful type of cinema, they might drag you out of it with them. But while it may appear mundane at times, “Lost in Translation” says a whole lot about human nature and our longing for connection and meaning.

#4: “Her” (2013)


Like a few other films on our list today, Spike Jonze’s brilliant romantic drama, set in the near future, is all about relationships. Although in this case, the main relationship that develops is between a man and his artificially intelligent operating system, as brilliantly played by disembodied Scarlett Johansson. The thing is… people tend to have a very different experience while watching this film depending on their own past relationships, and in order to get the most out of the movie, you should avoid having your takeaway colored by the opinions and interpretations of others.

#3: “Gravity” (2013)


In this case, it's not about having company distract you from the subtleties. Instead, “Gravity” is best experienced alone because of the interplay between space and solitude. Yes, seeing it in a packed theater was how most people saw it, but it’s really best when, like Sandra Bullock’s character, you can feel lost and adrift in all that emptiness. Sound is also a big factor. The incidental music, soundtrack and sound effects are all masterfully used to create a visceral experience that ramp up the tension and emotional gravitas - and having someone whisper in your ear will absolutely ruin that.

#2: “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)


Frank Darabont’s dramatic masterpiece is considered one of the greatest films ever made. It’s something that everyone should see at least once, but really… there’s nothing worse than watching it for the first time with a fan in tow, extolling its many virtues in a way that makes the whole thing feel very forced. At 2 hours and 22 minutes, it’s a lengthy and often slow film, and easily bored or restless company can just as easily take you out of the mood. This is a film that invites emotional investment, so watch it alone and really let yourself get lost in the story and characters.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:



“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)



“Synecdoche, New York” (2008)



“Moon” (2009)



#1: “Shame” (2011)


“Shame” follows Brandon Sullivan, an executive and sex addict. Though you might expect this to serve as the setup for one steamy scene after another… you’d be severely disappointed. It is jam-packed with sex, but the activities are frank, raw, uncomfortable and devoid of cinematic magic. This is a deeply unsexy exploration of crippling addiction and depravity, an investigation of how sexual addiction can both hijack and potentially destroy a person’s life. “Shame” is both challenging and worthwhile - but watching it with company will make your skin crawl and likely bring your hangout to a crashing, uncomfortably silent halt.

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