Tonight, July 12, 2012, Julie Moggan’s Guilty Pleasures premieres on POV (check your local listings). The documentary is an amusing and touching look at the immensely popular romance genre that tracks five romance devotees and their at-times escapist relationships with romance novels.
Critics have lauded the film for the balance it strikes between humor and profundity:
The film is beautifully constructed. There are no talking heads, no ‘expert’ analyses of the genre and no deconstructions of the essentially essentialist nature of the storylines. Instead the film is plotted — cleverly and covertly — like a classic romance novel. Connection, conflict and disappointment are all there. As, in one form or another, is love.
— Jayne Rodgers, TQS Magazine
Moggan’s achievement [is] to give her film real emotional depth, without entirely depriving you of the pleasures of the mismatch between dream and reality.
— Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent
[Roger is] one of the first of the film’s several charming and touching surprises… its subjects [are] treated with affection and respect with nary a trace of snark or ridicule.
— Donald Liebenson, Chicago Sun-Times
Tender and hilarious… Moggan expertly weaves their stories together, portraying even their flaws with grace and dignity. The film may be about fictional romance, but the characters in Guilty Pleasures prove that the quest for love is just as powerful — and much funnier — in real life.
— Josh Stillman, The Chronicle
Guilty Pleasures… is a movie about fantasy: creating it, living in it, and learning its limitations. Though ostensibly about Harlequin romance novels, very little of the film is about the books directly… for the most part the film focuses on five people whose lives are somehow informed by these books — either as writers, readers, or models — and examines how their vision of love and life has been affected (often negatively) by the stories they read and create.
— Tom Elrod, Slant Magazine
Witty, provocative… Guilty Pleasures is never sentimental, only sweet.
— Daniel Wakefield, DigYorkshire.com