Julie Moggan’s Guilty Pleasures premiered on POV last week, July 12, 2012, providing a humorous and moving look at the global phenomenon of romance novels from the perspective of three readers, a writer, and a romance cover model.

Watch Guilty Pleasures online for a limited time »

Some viewers took a cue from the documentary and fell in love with the film:

I stumbled into this documentary by chance and was immediately transfixed – blown away, in fact. 150 hours of film have been edited into a magical artwork illuminating the power of a craftful pen to elevate the worldwide readership of romance novels into new and imaginative experiences. A very normal Japanese couple are inspired to win a national ballroom dancing competition for example! We humans can be so endearingly human if we only can get a little inspiration from anywhere!

I really enjoyed the program. My best friend is a cover model and I “nit pick” for a romance author. I am also an avid reader. I have seen the industry from several sides. The authors aren’t all fabulously wealthy. Writing a novel is hard mental work. Many write for years before having a book accepted. Many more never do. The models life isn’t all glamorous either. Other men are intimidated by the attention they draw and finding real friends is hard. Women assume they are players or gay. They are used by others and referred to as “just a model.” They have feelings and dreams too. They have to work constantly to keep their body as perfect as they can make it. Writers and models dedicate themselves to giving the reading public the novels we crave.

I have to admit I’m a bit of a sentimental fool and even though there was humor in the film I really felt for all the people and their very real struggles to find love no matter how. A lot of truth was demonstrated in this film.
Tom Kaun (via Facebook)

Thank you – I actually found these stories quite fascinating. Well done, and I enjoyed the differing perspectives. —Every 4 seconds…time for me to start writing!
Ursula Roma (via Facebook)

tonight’s @POV doc was extremely cute & touching, and a true pleasure, despite its name! #GuiltyPleasures
angelidotca (via Twitter)

But others were not quite so fond of the film’s portrayal of romance readers and authors:

Oh dear. I plan to watch it, but…the annoying assumption that women have trouble drawing a line between fantasy and reality (the poor little muddleheaded dears) … and why on earth would they feature a male romance author when male romance authors are almost impossible to find? There are thousands of female romance authors, but perhaps we aren’t to be taken seriously. :sigh:…
Diane Farr

I was disappointed while watching — this didn’t really seem about the romance novel industry that I am a part of at all. There was no talking with editors, only one writer (who happens to be in the minority, being a male romance writer), and was focused almost exclusively on the Harlequin/Mills&Boon lines….This just seemed to actually perpetuate the stereotypes of romance readers in a way that was disappointing. A woman who fantasized about her dance teacher because she read all the ‘dancing scenes’? I’ve read very few ‘dancing scenes’ in romance novels. A middle aged woman whose husband describes her as ‘being less productive’ than he because she is happy to read in her spare time?…
Calle J. Brookes

What do you think? Did Guilty Pleasures pique your interest or turn you off? If you haven’t seen it yet, Guilty Pleasures is now streaming free online.

After you’ve watched the film, join the conversation at pbs.org/pov, on Twitter @povdocs, or on Facebook, and share your opinion with us.

Published by

POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.