The Pickup Game (2019) Poster

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Points out pitfalls but ignores healthy teachings
andersulvskov24 July 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The documentary is quite entertaining and points out some dangerous pitfalls you want to watch out for if you're a man who needs help meeting women. I was one of those men, and I've studied quite a bit of pickup material. What struck me while watching the documentary was that it did not include many of the most popular coaches who happen to focus on a thing called "inner game", i.e. becoming more confident, centered and happy. For example, Owen Cook aka RSDTyler is the co-founder of Real Social Dynamics and probably the most popular pickup coach ever. He is briefly mentioned in the documentary, but what he teaches is not mentioned at all. I would say that most of his newer teachings (since The Blueprint De-Coded from 2008) are very healthy and help a lot of people. Another top dating/pickup coach who isn't mentioned is Eben Pagan aka David DeAngelo, who founded Double Your Dating. Pretty healthy teachings too, at least his inner game content such as the "Deep Inner Game" program with Dr Paul Dobransky. I hope viewers remember that the guy on the street (e.g. the guy in documentary who isn't a dating coach) is not necessarily as narcissistic and manipulative as the pickup coaches in this documentary. Maybe he's just a shy guy trying to become less shy by overcoming his fear of talking to women although there is a good deal of narcissistic people in the "game". I recommend that people actually go on YouTube and watch some videos by some pickup guys. It's not all toxic.
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Engaging film from beginning to end, although a bit one-sided
bldunn-2534310 September 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This documentary involves many well-known pickup artists, including Mystery and Ross Jeffries. I'll admit to skimming their material in the past, but I never actually studied or practiced any of it. They, like most pickup gurus, focused more on memorizing material, either written by them or created by yourself, and that was not for me.

Instead, I read more stuff by David DeAngelo about how to improve my looks and confidence, a side of meeting women that this documentary ignores, probably because it is not controversial enough. I find this a shortcoming of the film. The pickup community that focuses on "inner game" has probably helped many thousands of guys become better with women, and without them having to act manipulative or dishonest.

But exposing the pickup gurus themselves is where this film excels. And each comment by the female psychologist is pure gold. The film is tight and builds to a tense and exciting third act. I found it very much worth watching, but those who have never heard of the pickup industry should realize that this film's view is myopic, focused on the bad guys and not the good ones.
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Shocking, disturbing, frightening and utterly compelling
JaneDoesFilmReviews29 May 2019
Caught a preview screening at Hot Docs earlier this year and this was without a doubt the most unsettling theatre experience of the festival.

I didn't know much about the pick-up world before watching this documentary and all I can say is this film leaves no stone unturned.

It begins innocently enough, with the origins of the pick up ideology back in the 1980s before moving onto the subculture as it is today. And by all accounts the industry is everywhere. In every major city across the world, it is now a billion dollar business. The film shows the ideology taught by many of these pickup schools as well as the students that sign up to the courses before diving head first into the darker sides of the culture.

An extremely powerful film. Brilliantly structured, tragic and cinematic. More than worth your time.
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An extraordinary film; fantastic, honest and raw
This haunting, heartbreaking and disturbing film takes us into the hidden world of pick-up artists and the seduction schools they run.

We get a close up of how these schools work, the kind of things they teach and how these teachings are put into practice. I'm sure other women will recognize some of the tactics that are shown in this film. I know I did. Forewarned is forearmed as they say.

And yet, as much as I was appalled by the behavior of many of the people in it, there were aspects of it I could relate to. And this is what makes the film such a challenging viewing experience. Almost as if it's trying to remind us of our humanity. I couldn't help but feel for the shy, socially awkward men that get caught up in this world. Clearly some of them come into it with the best intentions. Although it doesn't necessarily stay that way.

The Pickup Game is a tough watch, but it feels essential, not just for its vivid picture of a fascinating, deeply troubled crisis of masculine identity, but also for its wider significance: as a plea for people to stop being so horribly selfish and transactional. Almost as if it's a call for us to return to our basic humanity and rediscover genuine connection with each other.
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An eye-opener!!!
bellissimo_robert29 May 2019
I saw this documentary at Hot Docs in Toronto and really enjoyed it. I knew a little about this pick up world but was quite shocked at how far it's gone and how it's rooted in abuse and manipulation. I would suggest everyone see it, to be more and more aware of the level of toxic masculinity that exists in this world. The film does empathize with the fact that these men often unfortunately lack role models and are taught not to be themselves in order to attract women.
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Incredible Documentary
bklipinski26 June 2019
Engrossing documentary about the hidden world of dating coaches who claim to be able to turn any man into a modern day Don Juan.

Unbelievable at times, shocking at others, this documentary spoke to more than just the overlying story of the Pick-up coaches and those that pay money to listen to them. It speaks to the thousands of young men trying to follow a path in today's fickle dating world of tinder, ghosting and hook ups.

Felt like a real life version of Fight Club, although at several points you forget it's a documentary. You forget you're not watching a fictional film, which just supports the claim that truth can be more compelling than fiction.

Highly, highly recommended.
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The Pick Up Game is serious business
markmckinnes31 July 2019
This film intrigued me for several reasons: I had read Neil Strauss's book The Game when it was released (probably like everybody else of my generation) and knew a few friends who had dabbled in this scene. So I was curious to check it out.

Without revealing any spoilers, I will just say that no one could have scripted an investigative film that would have had as much impact as this documentary does. It's intense and very disturbing.

But for all the darkness in the movie, it actually feels quite balanced and fair. A lot of the material comes across in a unique and un-obvious way. Certainly not how you would expect it to from the title.

This thing is tight though -- and fascinating, and frightening. One to watch and one I have recommended to everyone I've discussed it with.
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A Masterpiece - but not for immediately obvious reasons.
kengergely24 July 2020
I'm no film critic but I honestly believe 20 years from now when this documentary has become the cult hit I'm sure it will be people are going to look at this movie and realize that it does something almost entirely unique in documentaries today - it leaves space for the viewer to make their own mind up.

I watched it (twice) with two different groups of friends and on both occasions each person had a different interpretation of what they had seen. Almost like when you're looking at clouds in the sky and making shapes out of them. Everybody sees something different. Likewise everyone's reaction to this film was different. Sure, this film contains the usual devices to help create atmosphere and move the story along (music, the way it's cut, etc) but that's kind of a given. What it does do, which is actually incredibly rare, is give the audience that little bit of space they need to bring their own interpretation to it.

If you look up reviews for the film you will find a huge range of reactions. From outrage that the film even exists to shock at what goes on to gratitude at the people that made the movie for putting it together.

Almost no other film that I know of sparks such a huge range of opinions. It's like the film becomes what you bring to it in many ways. Watch it. With friends. And then discuss it afterwards.
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Raw, skewed view of the real issues, but worth a watch
b_trought21 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Firstly, I enjoyed watching this. It's well put together, is an interesting topic and there are plenty of relatable aspects to the stories of the 'ordinary' man involved in the industry. I'd recommend giving it a watch as it'll allow you access to a subculture many are not aware of. Just be aware that the film focuses more on the seedy aspects of that culture, and doesn't delve too much into the reasons why it has become such a successful and profitable enterprise for a few individuals.

Here are my thoughts that arose while watching the film;

1. For pick-up culture to have taken off as it has there must be a reason. The film makes the point that men are tired of rejection from women and this is a reaction to that. (Most subcultures arise as a reaction to mainstream ideals, so it seems like a likely conclusion.) This reaction leads to a lot of frustration in men, who are looking for a solution to this problem. The film touches upon the levels of frustration (and its negative outcomes) as a result of this and how the industry reflects and uses it. It doesn't deal with the cause(s) of this in any detail though. Actually I got the feeling that the film was implying the instructors were out to act revenge on the women that had treated them poorly in the past (the proverbial 'women-bashing' culture). I thought this was much to simplified. So who's at fault here? men, women, the p.u.a. industry for supplying ready-made answers. Imo it's likely all of them together with many more aspects of society (socialisation of men & women, poor male role models being 2 examples).

2. Creepy and manipulative are terms used in the film to describe the industry. I honestly don't know if I can call it that, but the thing doesn't sit right with me. That said neither does the way most industries target young women to have them look a particular way, buy a particular thing, or act a particular way to become more attractive or desirable. We're all under the influences of group trying to get us to part with money. The industries just go about these differently as they tailor their products to women (long-term continuously affective marketing) or men (solve a problem in your life quickly).

3. The money aspect was treated in a way that I expected in the film. And yes, there is big BIG money involved. But you've got a subculture (so very few real experts), clients that are willing to pay those prices, and a camaraderie within the group. This last factor is hard for men to find and is probably a major contributing factor for some people to stay in the scene. Mind you, there are other industries that charge as much for similar services and offer similar benefits (self-help being the one that comes to mind). Yes there's big money, but there are reasons for this.

4. The nasty people in the scene. There's really no excuse for this imo, but it does happen when someone obtains some skill to exert influence over others and has a group of cronies backing them up. Again not limited to the pua industry, but I can definitely see how it's a real issue that needs to be dealt with in the industry.

5. I would have liked to have heard from people who've tried these methods and met the right person for them (the success stories comparatively speaking) but weren't taken advantage of. There's clearly a need for people to meet and if some people don't have those skills, or confidence in this area, then using some of the "inner game" methods to develop into a healthy individual surely can't be all bad as they improve you as a person (and are not meant to take advantage of other people). As such I'm sure some have used these techniques to mature and meet the right person for them. It'd have been nice to have seem more of these.

6. There's a point made in the film that both sexes are fragile and need to create some sort of persona and identity to attract a 'mate'. As such there's a need to lie to one another out of a fear of rejection. This for me was the saddest part of the film; creating a lie because you want to be liked by someone you don't know.

I think there are other industries that could have been covered here in a similar way (again the self-help industry comes to mind). Go watch it, have a think about the pluses and minuses of the film, and make up your own mind. You won't be dissappointed.
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Mind. Blown.
peter-j-bernard23 August 2019
Honestly one of the most engaging documentary films I've ever seen. I couldn't believe this kind of stuff even exists and it kept me hooked from start to finish. Powerful movie with a strong message. A must watch.
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Gets your attention
jack_deblasio20 April 2020
The best documentaries capture your attention and don't let it go. The Pickup Game is one of those. This is a film where you spend a large part of it thinking "How did they get THAT on camera?!"

The documentary focuses on a group of modern day seduction coaches (if you can call it that) and their students, girlfriends and the secret underground business they have built.

Another review said it is "Everything you ever wanted to know about the seduction industry but were afraid to ask." That pretty much sums it up.

Definitely one to watch.
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Well documented and the truth hurts!
sage46766 August 2020
I very disturbing, troubling and unfortunately honest 'unveiling' of what happens all day everyday. This should not be surprise to those that have no idea or understanding of what happens in this world today.
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The horror, the horror
JohnSeal2 October 2020
I've seen a lot of 'scary movies' but this is perhaps the most disturbing and unpleasant of them all. Men: what a disgusting, pathetic gender (I can say that because I am one).
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Unoriginal film made by men mansplaining
beth-316133 September 2020
Years after we all heard about pickup artists some men decided to mansplain it to us. This film SCREAMS "I showed my girl this so she'd think I'm a feminist".

Do yourself a favour and skip the film. Google pickup artists and read about it if you're actually interested.
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Complete B.S.
mehmetoney27 December 2020
Guys, don't fall for this, it may be helpful for the bros, who has lack self confidence and social skills, but that's it.

Picking up a girl, also depends on a lot, with which girl you wanna pickup, and how bad are your physical attributes. If you are already ok to get laid with any woman who breaths, then you already don't need this, cause if you ask 100 girls, 1 may respond eventually. If you don't have that confidence to ask or talk to 1 girl, then this class will not help you to be a pickup artist. You just need to grow up, got more rejections and have more experience and grow a pair while trying.

Have you ever seen a pickup artist, who can get laid with every girl he wants, who is 5.6, or not fit? ahahaha. Yeah I know, don't misunderstand, even if your physical attributes are bad, you may pickup women, but your chances are already lowered, you can't pickup any girl you want for sure. Because it is natural.

These are not bunch secrets that only a few knows, instead of paying for this kind of b.s., try yourselves at social environments. You will sort it out anyway. (if you are not an imbecile)
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Keeps you thinking long after you leave the theatre
agnest-4776918 November 2019
I was lucky enough to get the last ticket to this at a sold out festival screening in New York and was completely blown away! As a woman, the pick up world is something I have always been interested in but this took me in further and deeper than I had ever imagined. It was one of the hyped films of the festival and I'd heard a few people talk about it but it's rare that a movie can surpass (or let's face it even live up to) the hype and expectations around it. Needless to say I was not disappointed. It's a film that kept turning over and over in my mind for days. And one that I discussed with friends for some time afterwards. Stunning in every aspect, and exceeds all hype and expectation... Can't wait to watch it again!
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Mansplaining Misses The Mark
Saw this recently at Hotdocs in Toronto and I have to say I was left sooo frustrated. Why did two middle class straight white male directors decide to be the feminist voice on this problematic issue? Don't get me wrong, I admired the activism attempts in the film to fight misogyny and toxic masculinity but why not give female directors and producers a real voice? There was also no mention of issues surrounding the gay and trans dating scene and the problems within. Sigh.
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A Good Critical Look at Pickup
goreckimarcin11 January 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I found it valuable to see footage of the students of the PUA instructors. As you get to see the students attempt whatever approach, a good percentage of the time they are met with complete indifference or cold rejection despite their efforts, tricks, tactics, or any other form of game.

It was also good to see demonstrated how empty the lifestyle is. That overtime you give away parts of yourself and you start to feel very little. A very empty pursuit, perhaps getting the validation of other men.

I did find value in getting clarity for the time I did spend in game and related material and it gave me some perspective on the past.

I was pleased that the film wasn't primary about creating outrage but did offer good perspectives on some of these instructors. (One who felt shame for the book he wrote on game, and being misogynistic, and the other person who went on to be married and leave game behind.)

Overall it was very engaging to watch, and I took a lot from it.
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caveat emptor
jrmcveigh20 December 2020
I watched this to see if I could pick up on some tips ... how wrong was I, this documentary that picks up on the dark side of the industry - rinsing insecure men of their money - not teaching them confidence and style but coercion and manipulation.
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