I’ve always loved going to the movies. As a middle schooler, getting my parents to drop my friends and me off at the theater was the best thing I could imagine for Friday night fun. My very first real date was a movie in fact, and the memory of the laughter during “What About Bob”? stays with me still to this day, even if the date itself is but a hazy memory all these years later. There’s always been a feeling that comes over me as soon as I get settled in that plush seat, and even now it’s undeniable that there’s just something about getting lost in a movie.

My husband thinks it’s best to see a movie in the theater when the visual effects make the larger-than-life screen worth it. Explosions and car chases aren’t my thing, though; I crave the high emotion of a drama or comedy to enrapture me. And enrapture me they do. I’ve realized that I often leave the theater moved to tears, and inspired in a way.

Movies make me want to be a better person.

Beyond the simple desire to be beautiful, desirable or worthy of a big-screen closeup, movies routinely leave me resolved to more consciously treasure my loved ones. It’s become somewhat of a regular occurrence for me to leave a romantic comedy or drama that I’ve watched with a friend and greet my husband with a deep kiss upon my return home. I always can find some emotion to relate to up on the screen, and I’m left craving the same connections made when the final, inevitable happy ending plays out before my eyes.

Now that I’m in my mid-thirties, married for over a decade, and the mother of three children, I guess one could say that I’m an official adult. I must be some sort of gold standard for movie target audiences, especially considering the continued success of the rom-com. When I recently saw Steve Carrell and Julianne Moore excellently portray a realistic marriage in the film “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” I couldn’t help but think about my own life, and I left the theater where I had watched the movie with my mom, longing to be home so I could hold my husband’s hand.

I wonder if other moviegoers can understand this phenomena. I’m certainly not the only person whose ever brought a supply of tissues into the theater with her, but am I alone in becoming motivated for personal growth after watching a drama?

Dawn is the person you hear laughing a little too loudly or trying desperately to stifle her sniffles in the row behind you at the theater. In addition to her love of movies, she also teaches preschool at a university-based laboratory school, reviews books at 5 Minutes for Books, writes for the Greenbelt Patch, and blogs at my thoughts exactly