I love the concept of the guilty pleasure – something you love doing, but know you shouldn’t, its illicitness making it all the more enjoyable. The other day I indulged in one such pleasure – I went to the movies on my day off when I was supposed to be writing.
Having a part-time job, the days I have off are precious and normally nothing is allowed to take precedence over my writing. But I wanted to see this particular movie, my partner wasn’t interested in seeing it, and I didn’t want to wait until it came out on DVD. So I went to the Wednesday 2pm session. (I got some writing done in the morning, so I guess on the scale of hedonism my guilty pleasure was only a half-hearted effort).
The movie was Philomena, based on the true story of Philomena Lee, a retired Irish nurse, who enlists the aid of a world-weary journalist to help her search for her son, whom she was forced to give up for adoption when he was 3 years old. It’s an excellent film with pitch-perfect acting from Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Here’s a preview trailer.
I love the whole movie experience – the escapism into another world, the immediacy of it and the total absorption of the senses. (And if you’re eating popcorn at the same time, all five senses are catered for). If I wanted to rationalise my guilty pleasure I could say I was studying my craft, which I was. Writers can learn so much from movies, as most movie scripts follow the classic narrative structure of storytelling – setup, confrontation and resolution.
As I do when I read books, I find myself analysing all the components of the movie – what parts of the narrative worked, what parts didn’t, if the characters rang true, and so on. Some people believe that analysing a book or movie while you’re reading/watching it spoils the enjoyment, but I’ve found that it actually enhances it – the fact that I can appreciate the skill involved adds to the pleasure, especially as I can use the knowledge I’m gaining in my own writing.
So, where were we? Oh yes, guilty pleasures. What’s yours? Diffuse some of your guilt by sharing it here.
Robin Storey is an Australian author from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. She is a certified book nerd and has no weird hobbies or unusual pets.