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Going to the movie theater to see a new film, or simply staying at home to re-watch an old favorite, is a great way to spend time with your significant other. It turns out there may be more to movie-viewing habits and romantic relationships than you might expect, and it goes way beyond rom-coms. Movies are good for all types of couples — serving as an icebreaker for those that have just begun dating, and then to help build empathy and romantic connections for those that are in established relationships.

Good Movies For Couples

Relationships are best served by compromise and communication. Choosing a movie puts both of those relationship factors to the test. If one person seems to dominate the movie themes and choices, set a rule in your home theater that the person choosing alternates to keep movie night an even playing field. Different films have different benefits for couples, but it is difficult to say what specifically makes a good movie for couples.

Dramatic films and movies with deep relationships are typically full of emotional scenes that feature arguments or disagreements, and may serve as an opportunity to discuss these (or similar) issues with your significant other. Having a tangible and relatable moment to aid in moving a conflict to resolution can be helpful for some relationships.

romantic movies

Looking Beyond Romantic Comedies

Some people may immediately think that the best way to use movie-watching as a benefit to your relationship is by triggering those feel-good emotions with a romantic comedy. Although this may be true for a few couples, romantic comedies may also portray unrealistic relationships that can, in turn, put unnecessary pressure on couples. Interestingly, a study published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts has shown moviegoers that prefer to watch science fiction themed films have a better grasp on realistic expectations in relationships.

If you are looking for a new movie this upcoming date night, try one of these:

  • Back to the Future – A great film to help you remember what it was like to have a high school romance.
  • The Princess Bride– A funny love story that can lighten the mood of the evening.
  • Wall-E – This child-hearted film will remind you that some of the greatest moments are just getting to hold your loved one’s hand.
  • When Harry Met Sally – A movie to ignite a conversation about whether or not women and men can just be friends.
  • The Twilight Series– Find out early in the relationship of they are team Edward or team Jacob to spare yourself later on.

The old adage, “expectation is the root of disappointment” can lead us to trouble in personal relationships. When we watch films that portray perfection, gender biases, or serendipitous matchmaking, it may lead us to believe in an unrealistic version of reality — one which we might often feel we are failing to achieve. By mixing up your date movies you can be a voyeur to a variety of relationship dynamics that you may be able to gain insight from as a couple.

beyond romantic comedy wall-e

Movies That Spark Conversation

Choosing a movie to watch with a date or significant other can be an art form. Depending on how you would like the evening to go could determine your movie choice. If you are looking forward to an in depth and intellectual conversation, a documentary may help to set the mood. Choosing a controversial or politically charged documentary, however, may be best left for later on into the relationship. Asking a date to sit through a documentary that they may have opposing viewpoints to can cause discomfort and lead them to decline a second date.

Need some conversation motivation? Try one of the following films:

    • Amadeus– The life story of Mozart as told by his alleged murderer, a fellow musician.
      • Conversation starter: What is the craziest thing you have done out of jealousy?
    • Slumdog Millionaire– An Indian boy from the slums wins on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a  Millionaire?”
      • Conversation starter: What would you do if you won the lottery?
    • The Shawshank Redemption– Two men find companionship while imprisoned.
      • Conversation starter: Where would you go if you were escaping from prison?
    • What Women Want– A male business executive gains the ability to read women’s thoughts.
      • Conversation starter: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
    • Bicentennial Man– A robot strives to become more human-like.
      • Conversation starter: If you were a robot, what job would you want to have?
Spark conversation Amadeus

Movie Dates: Good or Bad?

Movie dates, especially first dates, are under fire. Some believe that they should not even be considered due to the lack of interaction, while others feel quite the contrary. In addition to the inability to communicate openly with one another during a film, you are also setting yourself up for a significant amount of time with someone you barely know. Dinner and a movie can easily take up an entire evening.

For those that are all for the big screen for a first date claim that the film offers a date night long conversation starter. The film can be serve as a catalyst to understanding what your date enjoys doing in their free time, which way they lean on certain issues, and initiate further conversation after the movie is over. Afterall, you can’t just say goodbye after seeing a film together without discussing it first.

Help couples bond

What To Do on a Movie Date

If you have a budding romance and have invited your date over for a movie night at your home, do your best to make it special. Movie nights are still a date night, and a chance to woo your new partner. If the film that you have chosen is a romance, enhance the evening with candles in your home theater. Make sure your date is comfortable by giving them a place to set their wine glass while you watch the movie. Offer your date a snack, get comfortable, and settle in for a nice night in front of the screen.

Things that you can do on a movie date to ensure a good time:

  • Snacks- every good movie date comes with snacks or treats. Provide your guest with plenty of options.
  • Temperature- If going to a theater, bring an extra jacket for your date in case it is too cold. If you are watching at home, provide enough blankets or adjust the AC if it is too hot.
  • Check in- Once you are both settled in your seats, simply ask the question “do you need anything else?” It will help to alleviate any remaining doubts you may have.

If you are unsure of what to do on a movie date, it is a safe play to do something fun. There is no reason that the movie needs to be watched indoors. Get creative and build a nice nesting area outside to curl up for the evening. You can use the house or fence as a projector screen, utilize a bluetooth speaker and project the movie in your backyard. You can put on something light or invest in a lengthy documentary to discuss over desert.

Just like many other aspects of relationships, you will quickly learn what works or does not work well in your romantic relationships. If you find that your date movie choice didn’t instigate interesting conversations or was a total flop, try it one more time with a different genre. Pay attention to what resonates with both yourself and your partner to better inform you of what films to choose in the future. Viewing films can be relaxing and therapeutic, especially with a significant other. Sit back, get comfortable and enjoy the film.

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