POSTED April 29 2013

Do you and your significant other have the same movie tastes?

movies-people-watching-1040cs123011I arrived at the screening moments before the lights dimmed, my face tear-streaked. I was the plus-one of Pauline Kael. She beckoned me to the seat next to hers.

“Did he like the same movies as you, honey?” she asked, correctly surmising the cause of the crying and that he was past-tense. As I sniffled and shook my head no, she consoled me with a pat insisting,  “If you don’t like the same movies, honey, it will never work.”

How did she know that what precipitated the final fight between me and the bf of six months was a movie? (It was Val Lewton’s I Walked With a Zombie. For me, it was a 69-minute tone poem scored to the rhythms of calypso and Chopin. For him it was a stupid B picture and I had wasted his afternoon with my movie with such movie geekery.

Is a shared taste in movies a predictor of a good relationship? Pauline believed it was.  I have come to think not. Looking back on the Zombie incident I’d say today that if a disagreement about a movie could create a chasm between two people then the foundation of the relationship isn’t very strong. For nearly 25 years I’ve lived happily with a man whose movie tastes overlap with mine roughly half the time. I roll my eyes when he watches Dances with Wolves; he rolls his when I watch The Last Days of Chez Nous.

So I ask you: Do you and your significant other have the same movie tastes? How important is is that you do?


  1. ruth says:

    great question and don’t know anyone in the in No. 2 reply, above, but I’m with you as we overlap even less. Except Last Days of Chez Nous, since it’s entirely autobiographical and we know all of those people.

  2. Gary says:

    I took a date to see Woody Allen’s EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU. I loved it, but I found out many years later that he didn’t. However, we’ve been together 16 plus years, so maybe he said the right thing at the time?

  3. Quora says:

    Do you and your significant other share the same taste in movies?…

    Is liking the same film a precondition for a good relationship?

  4. William Lutz says:

    Some movies just aren’t for everyone no matter who you’re with: Zardoz, Brasil, Vanishing Point, Cross of Iron, Michael Collins – to name a few. Others can be a pretty cool draw – The Great Train Robbery, The Good Thief or Bubba Ho Tep. Fact is, like books (and food) you are what you watch. There’s a lot to be said about somebody’s viewing taste; and it’s no different now then when we were teenagers: you want to establish a relationship, you gotta have a good stage with a good flick, otherwise it’ll likely leave a bad taste and make for awkward moments afterwards.

  5. Nancy C says:

    Allow me to venture a counter-question: is the foundation of a good relationship the wisdom to know when to defer one’s untutored prejudices to the better-schooled understanding of one’s partner? Naturally, matters of fundamental taste and compatibility are undeniably important, but if Partner A is an expert in cooking, and Partner B practices surgery, then doesn’t it make sense to let A mix ingredients and B suture cuts? In other words, a partner who insists on his/her opinion as superior in all areas, even those in which s/he has comparatively little knowledge, will inevitably become insufferable. (Sorry to say, but Pauline Kael veered dangerously in that direction herself, but I digress…) Thus, my now husband (then-boyfriend) happily tagged along to triple-features with me while I was in film school, no matter what the subject, while I listened attentively to his discourses on Palladian architecture while he studied for his degree in architecture. We’re still married 30 years later…

  6. […] Is it important to like the same movies as your significant other? I don’t really think so, though I guess it helps. That reminds me. . . I once forced Buster Keaton’s “The Navigator” on a girl I was dating, feeling sure that it would convince her to enjoy silent movies. She didn’t laugh once. When it was over, she looked at me and said, “It was nice. But we won’t have to do this again, will we?” Needless to say, she married someone else. […]

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