4 Moments When Movies Turn into ASMR

Posted on November 24, 2021

I must say ASMR videos can be polarising. Some people search up ASMR videos on YouTube almost every night before going to bed while others find watching a person making random noises and sounds weird or sometimes sexual. I myself think that ASMR is a really interesting medium or art that definitely has its place in the world. For those of you who don’t yet know what ASMR is, here’s the definition: ASMR refers to “autonomous sensory meridian response”, a tingling sensation from the scalp and downward that one experiences in response to different sounds, situations and visuals. 

Two years ago when COVID first hit, I stumbled upon ASMR videos and was very impressed by how creative ASMRtists are in incorporating many different “triggers” in their videos. I then realized that ASMR can be everywhere and so I turned to one of my favourite media, movies, in search of more amazing ASMR. Here’s a list of 4 movies in which I’ve found moments or scenes that can be qualified as ASMR.

Captain America - The Winter Soldier (2014)

Image Credit: Pinterest

I know what you’re thinking. How can an action superhero movie have anything relaxing enough to be considered ASMR? Hear me out. The sound of tap water running at the beginning of this scene always relaxes me right away, putting me in my ASMR mood for the somehow intimate conservation between Natasha and Steve as they talk almost as if they’re whispering. One might find the beauty of Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans too distracting (I mean… how can I blame you?) but other than that this scene is such a good ASMR break from the action-packed movie.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Image Credit: Pinterest

Now, let’s jump back two decades to look at this scene in Edward Scissorhands where Peg helps Edward put on makeup. This scene uses many ASMRtists’ favourite trigger – the POV face tapping or massage. From Edward’s POV, we can see Peg tapping and putting makeup on Edward’s face (aka our face). This is perfect for ASMR because we can imagine our faces being touched and tapped. The crinkling of the plastic container and the sound of wet clay that Peg uses to cover Edward’s scars, in my opinion, add so much more to the tingling sensation. 

Phantom Thread (2017)

Image Credit: Letterboxd

How can we talk about ASMR in movies without talking about Phantom Thread? This film optimizes the little sounds that most of us would not be aware of to imitate Reynolds, our main character, hyper-sensitivity to details. And you know what that means? ASMR perfection! In this scene where Reynolds helps Alma tailor her dress, we can hear many triggers in it: clothes scratching, shoes tapping against the wood floor, scissors and pins crinkling and also Reynolds whispering with his low voice. If you’re feeling extra, you can also put yourself in Alma’s shoe (no pun intended) and imagine it’s a role-play which is one of the triggers that many ASMRtists use.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Image Credit: Metacritic

Last but not least, we have Portrait of a Lady on Fire where every time Marianne, our main character, takes out her charcoal or paintbrush or pencil, it is the best ASMR you’ll ever experience. The sounds that the charcoal or paintbrush make against the canvas, the scratching sounds produced with the slight movement of Marianne’s arms and body, and the breathing and mouth sound that she makes as she tries to concentrate all come together to send us all to ASMR heaven. And what makes those painting/drawing scenes a lot better is that they didn’t take out the background ambience noise! Personally, I find the ambience noise really relaxing yet not many ASMRtists include it.

Posted in Blog.

Coen is a first-year RTA Media Production student from Hong Kong who is passionate about films, music, books and anything creative… and coffee! He likes to write and is open to writing about anything. In his blog, you’ll most likely see him ranting about the last movie he saw, fanboying over Taylor Swift, maybe crying over The Song of Achilles, and many more… Oh! And also coffee. ;)