7.0/10
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Guilty Pleasures (2010)

Demure Japanese housewife Hiroko yearns to be swept off her feet by a dashing David Beckham look-alike. When she takes up ballroom dancing lessons with dishy Mr. Iijima, will fantasy become... See full summary »

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Demure Japanese housewife Hiroko yearns to be swept off her feet by a dashing David Beckham look-alike. When she takes up ballroom dancing lessons with dishy Mr. Iijima, will fantasy become reality? Feisty Indian princess Shumita has grown tired of playing the victim since her debonair husband left her for a younger woman. Deep down she knows she's the true love of his life and she's out to get him back. Single Mum Shirley has finally found true love with her very own Mills & Boon hero. But her knight in shining armor has his dark side: together they must find a way to hold onto their happy ending. Sexy romance cover model Stephen can get any woman he wants. But he won't settle for anything less than his 'eternal flame' and he's having trouble finding her. Glamorous author Gill Sanderson delivers five Mills & Boon titles a year to her devoted readers across the world. Little do they know, Gill is in fact Roger, a pensioner writing from a small caravan in the Lake District. Five heroes... Written by Julie Moggan

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Documentary

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22 October 2010 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Kutkuttavan ihanat kirjat  »

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£250,000 (estimated)
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Interesting Take on a Mundane Subject
29 March 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A documentary on Harlequin romance novels might not seem like a particularly interesting prospect, but Guilty Pleasures manages to be both insightful and at times moving. It features little of the kitsch one would expect from such a topic. The film examines the lives of three women who are avid Harlequin readers, as well as a male model and an author involved in producing the books.

The women depicted have all moved beyond simply reading the books to allowing what they read to shape their lives. For some, this is constructive, as in the case of a Japanese housewife inspired to take up ballroom dancing. However, in other cases the novels provide a means to fill the emptiness of otherwise unfulfilling lives, as in the case of an Indian woman in a loveless marriage. She bases her expectations of love on what she reads in the novels, even though her husband has abandoned her.

At its best, Guilty Pleasures is a sad look at how pop culture shapes people's mindsets and expectations of the world. Where people once turned to religion or philosophy to fill voids in their lives, they now look to third rate novels. Although the film is far from maudlin, it opens a door into how some people try to cope with the sadness of their lives.


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