Picking a movie for a first date can be a gruelling task. You want to show your potential significant other who you really are, open up a bit and test whether they are compatible with you or whether your tastes, opinions and even your worldview is completely different. But on the other hand you want to test what they are into, give them free rein and see what they come up with, pry into their minds. And then you’re also awkward about revealing too much about yourself, or focusing so strongly on one part of your identity that you come across as a complete dork.
But there are loads of great films out there which are far better for testing compatibility. Instead of emotionally investing by using a film you love, or throwing caution to the wind with a random film or one they might adore, here are eighteen films to get you thinking, talking, and possibly bonding.
Pure and absolute sweetness to begin with. Whether either of you has watched it previously or not, Wall-E is the sort of modern, sci-fi, comical and sweet take on a Romeo and Juliet premise you could fall in love over. The impossible relationship, underdog characters and joint mission really sets up an image of a romance worth fighting for.
2: The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Probably for the best if you both at least know what you’re in for! On the other hand, if you’re a pretty intense person, this could be the make-or-break first date movie you need to work out whether this person deserves to be in your life. Equal parts comedy, drama, thriller and freakshow, the film has its snuggly moments, its laugh out loud moments and its “look at each other in bafflement” moments.
3: My Neighbour Totoro.
Another cutesy one, but without the romance this time. For less intense people, or those who dream of a little house in the countryside. The film’s nostalgic tale of childhood innocence and a humble life growing up in rural Japan is sure to touch the hearts of more traditional, peaceful, or earth loving people who aspire to maybe one day live much the same way.
For the radically romantic, Chocolat follows a tale of family, of breaking tradition, of witchcraft and, yes, of chocolate. Scenes to get your tastebuds tingling and romances to get your heart racing, it could really shed light on whether your date is a passionate soul who aspires to live a rich life, or whether perhaps they aren’t quite as firey as you might have liked.
5: Mad Max: Fury Road.
For the pure radicals. Originally written as a film starring Furiosa as the protagonist, simply set in the Mad Max universe, the focus of the title turned onto Mad Max as a way of selling tickets. Which shows how sad the action movie industry is. But the end result is still a film full of powerful female roles and the desperate human struggle for survival which is sure to have your date on the edge of their seat.
6: Brokeback Mountain.
A sweet movie about a love that cannot be. Unless a film where the starring couple isn’t straight will ruin the mood for you or your date (you are terrible people, by the way), this movie will surely get you thinking about how fortunate you are to be able to choose each other and looking to the future, thinking about whether you see yourselves as one unit by then. Great for cuddles or for introspection.
7: Nightmare Before Christmas.
Another romance that should not be, but this time with a happy ending. A great story for quirky people everywhere, A Nightmare Before Christmas addresses subjects such as belonging, working hard for the person you love and the things you are passionate about, not letting other people get in the way of your happiness and accepting your personal limitations with grace. Sobering and sweet.
8: Little Miss Sunshine.
A great film which follows a family as they take their little girl to fulfil her dreams. Light-hearted at points, but deadly serious at others, it’s a perfect blend. Along this amazing road trip they encounter misfortune and learn about themselves and each other. As the family grow together with each other, so should you and your date, cheering them on until the very end.
A classic first date film, Amelie follows the life and romance of a young woman who lives life with childishly rose-tinted glasses. She explores the world naively at times, seriously at others, and drags her love interest along with her into her crazy universe. Her antics and outlook on life are sure to bring a smile to your faces.
10: Edward Scissorhands.
A medical experiment gone wrong, poor Edward is locked away in a mansion on a hill. His hands have been constructed out of scissor blades and his gothic horror movie monster appearance is a stark contrast with the candy-coloured world down below. As he works hard to integrate himself into the community and carve himself a little place, he endears the town and the audience.
11: Groundhog Day.
A great film for a taste of romantic comedy with a lot of pure wacky comedy and a strong moral message. A man disillusioned in his life finds himself living one day on repeat… until he gets it right. At first he is confused, then he despairs, but as he realizes there is no way out of the time loop, he begins to focus on improving himself and seeking what he actually wants from life. Bit by bit, he comes to live life to the fullest.
12: The Cabin In The Woods.
Another freaky, weird, fantastic film for people who want to keep their dates on edge and keep them guessing. Starting out as the most stereotypical horror movie, it descends into madness as a deeper plot is revealed. Between scares and suspense, the movie shows us a world where all is not as it seems and where sometimes people have to make the toughest decisions about life, themselves, and everything.
13: Forbidden Beauty.
A powerful film about social stigmas, social roles and life at a point of change. Women are forbidden from acting on stage, so men, dressed as girls, fill all these roles. This creates conflict in a society which is not sure whether it hates women or homosexuals more. The conflict intensifies when the king bans transsexual actors, making all female roles for women actors only, driving a wedge between the protagonists.
A bittersweet romance leaves an elderly man alone, risking losing his home, grumpy and cynical, dreaming only of fulfilling his late wife’s dreams. A young boy on a mission to get his badges meets the old man and they embark on an accidental adventure together. Bit by bit, the man rediscovers the joy for life which his wife held and his deep love for her.
A young girl sets out to protect her family’s honour and her father’s life, disguised as a man to take his place in the army. A great film for those nostalgic for old Disney, who love strong female leads, or who are sick of the usual romance storylines. There is some sweetness and romance there, but it develops naturally and is refreshing.
A boy’s only wish… to grow up as soon as possible. When it is granted and he is thrown into the adult world, he realizes it is not quite as he thought it would be. But his childishness is perceived by actual adults as someone daring, with a fresh outlook on life, and embraced. A funny movie sure to get you bonding.
17: A Chinese Ghost Story.
Pure comedy, but excellent for a date night. A Chinese Ghost Story follows a Buddhist priest and his young follower as they go on a spiritual journey. The ghosts in question set off to tempt them and harm them in any way they see fit. Plenty of terrible effects, bad jokes and strange scenes make this movie great fun all round.
18: The Danish Girl.
A transsexual woman discovers herself after being portrayed as a woman by her wife. Realizing that her entire life as a man had been a lie, she and her wife embark on a mission to live their lives freely. With sweet romance, natural conflicts and the challenges of life as a transsexual woman being explores, this film has a bit of everything to get you and your date talking.
And that concludes our list. Feel free to add your own date night or first date film suggestions in the comments!