Big screen bliss: get some Virgin Red therapy with a trip to the cinema

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by Virgin Red
10 March 2022

What is it about the cinema that makes it a truly amazing experience? It has the power to remove us from reality for an hour or two; make us laugh and make us cry. 

And we’ve got good news: if you’re planning a trip, don’t forget you can use your Virgin Red points on Vue cinema tickets. Whilst we’ve always enjoyed the cinema, research has shown that spending a couple of hours in front of the big screen may have a profound effect on physical and mental wellbeing, too. 

In a study between UCL and Vue Cinemas, scientists studied an audience watching a film to gauge their emotional and physical reactions and discovered a few interesting things:

  • A "noticeable increase" in the cinemagoers' heart rates, into the healthy heart-zone (40-80%) for 45 minutes. Researchers described this as "equivalent to a light form of cardio" (and much easier if you ask us).

  • 55% of viewers felt that the experience was therapeutic in an emotional sense and felt uplifted after the film.

  • 45% of the audience left the film feeling empowered, with “higher mood and arousal levels”.

  • 75% of the audience felt fully absorbed by the film and the cinema experience as a whole.


So why do we react like this? 

Three main parts of the cinema experience trigger physical and emotional responses – prepare yourselves for some more science from Vue’s study with UCL


During cultural activities like the cinema, our brains are presented with complex, intense and emotional experiences which puts demands on our emotional cognitive functioning. These can help reduce feelings of loneliness, as well as boosting memory and slowing overall cognitive decline. 

Social sharing

Synchronised activity can have a positive effect on our social connectedness. Going through the same emotional journey together can reduce symptoms of loneliness.

Relaxing focus

The power of a flow state, in which you are completely immersed in an absorbing experience and lose track of time, is rejuvenating for the brain.

In our always-on world, it’s rare that we switch off our phones – let alone find headspace for ourselves. The cinema is one of the last places that we can truly devote our time to one thing, and escape the hustle of life.  

Book your next Vue cinema trip using your points with Virgin Red, the new rewards club from Virgin.