However impressive they may be, there are certain movies that film fans believe only need to be seen once. For example, Orphan: First Kill is undeniably one of the most exciting and unpredictable horror movies of the year so far, but there’s not much extra to be gleaned from a rewatch – the experience won’t quite be the same.
There are plenty of great films out there that Reddit users believe meet the same fate – they’re entertaining and impressive in their own right, but their particular story just doesn’t have anything new to offer upon a second or third viewing.
David Lynch has developed a pretty strong reputation over the years for his penchant for unconventional and disturbing stories, and Eraserhead is probably one of the most obvious examples of this. Even many of Lynch’s biggest fans admit that the film is overly confusing and complex, which prevents it from thriving on a rewatch.
Reddit user balsac_is_daddy admits that whilst the film is “iconic” among several film circles, “once was enough.” There are plenty of details that eagle-eyed viewers might catch on a rewatch, but the experience as a whole is just a little too unsettling for some.
Manchester By The Sea (2016)
Casey Affleck’s Oscar-winning turn in Manchester by the Sea has developed somewhat of a reputation in the years following the film’s release as one of the most devastating and emotional performances ever put to film. The story itself matches this grim and miserable tone, which many viewers are hesitant to revisit.
Reddit user millertimemtg describes the film as “absolutely gutting”, claiming that they “have no interest in ever watching it again.” Manchester by the Sea is the kind of film that intentionally drains the audience of all happiness and replaces it with an emotional numbness that’s probably best experienced just once.
Whiplash is one of those rare movies that’s literally designed to make the audience feel as uncomfortable as possible. Every scene is framed and constructed deliberately to impose anxiety and tension in the viewer, with the narrative itself maintaining an unrelenting tempo throughout.
Many fans describe Whiplash as one of the most nerve-wracking movies ever, which is why so many audiences don’t want to return to the film any time soon. Reddit user frnklfrwsr claims that although they “loved” the film, they’re “still working up to watching it for a second time.”
12 Years A Slave (2013)
Not only is 12 Years A Slave one of the saddest and emotional films ever, but it also features several brutal depictions of violence that are definitely at their most effective on the first viewing. It’s the shock that accompanies all these disturbing acts of brutality that makes the film’s story so moving, which works best the first time around.
The only reason that audiences found the strength to sit through such a draining and unsettling film is because they wanted to educate themselves and discover the fates of the central characters. All this mystery is lost on a second viewing, which leaves Redditor twitterneedsanenema with “no desire” to sit through those acts of suffering again.
Uncut Gems (2019)
Whilst Uncut Gems isn’t as emotional or unsettling as some of Reddit’s other suggestions, the entire point of the film is to make the audience as apprehensive as possible. The story takes several twists and turns that exist solely to keep the audience on the edge of their seat, which many fans of the movie don’t want to experience again.
“It made me so terribly anxious the whole way through,” writes Reddit user technical_fall_8770, commenting on the film’s unique atmosphere. The Safdie brothers use incredibly tight cinematography and fast pacing to achieve this distinct effect, and it probably wouldn’t have the same impact on a second viewing.
Marriage Story (2019)
When it comes to films that are literally designed to rip the audience’s heart out, Marriage Story certainly deserves recognition. The entire film follows a divorcing couple, played by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, as they tear each other down and build each other back up.
The film is emotionally draining, with several scenes consisting solely of the characters arguing through Noah Baumbach’s sharp dialogue. Reddit user artisticleap calls the film “very emotional”, claiming that they wouldn’t want to put themselves through the distress again – in spite of the film’s technical craft.
The Revenant (2015)
The Revenant was nominated for Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars, which proves that it impressed both critics and casual audiences alike, but it’s not the kind of story that easily lends itself to a rewatch. On top of the challenging 2hr30min runtime, The Revenant has very little narrative or dialogue to keep audiences invested a second time around.
Reddit user ctancel5814 is “glad that I saw [the film] once”, but doesn’t think they’ll be revisiting it any time soon. It remains one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s crowning accomplishments, but the film itself doesn’t really offer much on a rewatch that isn’t obvious the first time around.
Come And See (1985)
Come and See is often cited as one of the greatest war movies ever made, and it also holds the impressive accolade of being one of the most harrowing stories ever told. It’s a scathing condemnation of war and its endless casualties told through the perspective of a young boy whose life is destroyed by an oncoming conflict.
Reddit user chuff3r describes Come and See as “bleak, pointless, incomprehensible, and achingly human”, proving just how emotional and powerful Elem Klimov’s iconic movie really is. There are several moments that only need to be seen once to change the audience’s perspective on humanity forever.
Eighth Grade (2018)
The reason that so many people refuse to watch Eighth Grade for a second time is actually a huge compliment to Bo Burnham’s script – the film is too painfully relatable. It perfectly captures the challenges and traumas of that specific stage of life – to the extent that many audiences saw themselves in Elsie Fisher’s protagonist.
Eighth Grade relies on its relatability and cringe humor to strike a chord with the audience, and the fact that Redditors like redsamuri are so hesitant to watch it again proves that it does its job perfectly. They write that “each awkward interaction cuts me to my core.”
The Pianist (2002)
Telling the story of one Jewish man’s journey throughout war-torn Poland in the 1940s, The Pianist is often described as one of the most difficult-to-watch films ever made. It doesn’t pull its punches in the slightest, offering some genuinely unsettling and disturbing set pieces that display just how indiscriminately brutal this era was.
The Pianist is completely bleak from start to finish, with Adrien Brody’s powerhouse performance guiding the audience through a story of hopelessness and futile resistance. Reddit user john_lives praises the film, but writes that “nobody needs to feel that miserable twice.”
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