Guilty Pleasures (2010) Poster

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7/10
Interesting Take on a Mundane Subject
TheExpatriate70029 March 2016
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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An intimate look at relationships!
freejoyhart1 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
What an unexpected surprise this movie was! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I have to admit that I felt like I was taking a class in world wide romance seen through the eyes of both women & men from different cultures! I relate to what the women are saying about what they want from a romantic love interest, and totally understand why some women read harlequin romance novels! I, personally don't like those novels & think they're too sappy, but nevertheless I am still a woman & understand the need for romance! It's always perplexed me why men in real life aren't more like the men in those novels! Don't men know what women want? Maybe they don't! Or maybe men want something totally different! It's an age old question! The men in this film explain skillfully what they want & why they have a hard time being romantic, saying "I love you," committing to a relationship & delivering all those things that women crave! Watching this film I was reminded once again how different men and women really are! One of the characters in this film is a harlequin writer who is actually a man but writes under a woman's name! I thought it was interesting that he could deliver words in a book that women want to hear, but not in real life; his real life! He states something so profound towards the end of the film! He said,"I prefer to be in complete solitude if it's possible." That I could also relate to because after watching this film I'm even more committed to being single! I'm really not sure men & women are meant to live together! For me, the film is filled with insights about relationships! One of the characters in the film is told by a fortune teller that she needs to let go of her attachments to her relationship & simply work on herself, that the romance she needs is really with herself! Now, that makes sence to me! When people open up & share themselves on screen authentically there's always something to be learned! I feel like I could watch this film again & learn even more insights! Excellent film!!!
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