Guilty Pleasures (image 1)

What do more than a million women a month find between the covers of Mills & Boon novels?

Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

Guilty Pleasures 2010

Directed by Julie Moggan

A fond, good-humoured doco about Mills & Boon romance novels and how they bear on the love lives of a handful of writers and readers. “A movie about fantasy: creating it, living in it, and learning its limitations.” — SlantMagazine.com

UK In English, Hindi and Japanese with English subtitles
86 minutes DigiBeta

Director, Photography

Producer

Rachel Wexler

Editor

Claire Ferguson

Music

Stuart Earl

WIth

Shirley Davies
,
Phil Davies
,
Shumita Didi Singh
,
Sanjay Singh Sandhu
,
Honmo Hiroko
,
Honmo Seiich
,
Stephen Muzzonigro
,
Roger Sanderson
,
Gabriela Gonzalez

Festivals

London, Amsterdam Documentary 2010

There’s a Mills & Boon romance novel sold every four seconds. Julie Moggan’s film investigates the fantasies of true love and sexual fulfilment that they promote – and their bearing on the love lives of a handful of their producers and consumers. Disillusionment seems inevitable, but Moggan’s approach is fond and good-humoured. Prolific author Jill Sanderson turns out to be a balding Yorkshireman named Roger – who assures us he’d never call a hero Roger. Chiselled cover model Stephen may be deemed to be the man women want, but he’s a paperback reader himself, a consumer of self-help lit, struggling earnestly to find his ‘twin flame’. 

Without ever condescending to their fancies, Moggan profiles three avid readers in considerable depth. There’s Brit fan Shirley, Hiroko in Japan, and, somewhat alarmingly, Shumita in Delhi, who has been texting her ex for the past five years while devouring stories about women who actually love the men they think they hate.

Ultimately Guilty Pleasures makes it affectingly clear that for some readers there’s fortification in recognising – even repeatedly – that the perfect union with the perfect man occurs only in very affordable paperbacks. It’s hardly as if these women haven’t noticed that real love is often complex and tough, but much more nourishing too - and definitely funnier. — BG