Nov 3 2017 8:30am

Should You Get a Passionflix Subscription?

Do you open Netflix late on a Saturday night, only to pop in your aging DVD copy of The Notebook? For me, it’s The Princess Bride or Stardust, but the point remains the same: where are the new romance movies? Romancelandia has talked about this a lot lately, and a startup called Passionflix stepped up to fill the void. They’ve now released their first original film, Hollywood Dirt, based on the novel by Alessandra Torre. Wanna know if you should subscribe? I’ve put together my initial impressions and hopes for the future below.

What It Is & What You Get:

A streaming service like Netflix, but for romance!

For $5.99/month, you can watch on just about any device. I’ve watched on my laptop and on my iPad. The site and the app are functionally very similar.

Movies are sorted by the “Barometer of Naughtiness,” or into categories like “Tissues and Ice Cream” or “Love and Laughter.” There’s also a category for trailers and behind the scenes footage for the films they produce.

Pros and Cons:

Pro—It’s for us! Everything about the site, from fonts and color choices to slang and movie choices is tailored for romance readers.

Con—It’s not for all of us. It’s super white and heterosexual. A Brenda Jackson novel is currently slated for adaptation, but as of right now, Bride & Prejudice is the only movie on the site with a non-white lead. As far as I can see, there aren’t any movies for viewing with non-hetero relationships, but TBH, most of Hollywood hasn’t been making movies with happy endings for gay folks, so it’s not on all Passionflix here.

Pro—They’re adding new movies as they go. When I first logged in, I was really regretting my subscription because there were maybe 5 movies total. Now it’s 32.

Con—32 isn’t a lot of movies, for those of us spoiled by an abundance of choices. $5.99/month for 32 movies? You decide. (I subscribed as a Founding Member, which gives me a 2-year subscription for a total savings of about $40. Time will tell if that was a good choice.)

Pro—They’re adapting romance novels to film!

Con—The movies might not be as high quality as we’d hope? More on that below.

I watched Hollywood Dirt, the first and only one out right now, and I think H&H will be covering Afterburn/Aftershock (by Sylvia Day) and the next couple of films as well. I didn’t read the book beforehand and will admit that I don’t usually go for this type of romance. Hollywood Dirt is the story of a Hollywood star coming to a small Southern town to make a movie. He’s just been very publicly cheated on and is now filming the movie while hiding out from the press while he gets divorced. Naturally, he meets a Fiery Southern Girl, casts her as the female lead in his movie, and falls in love with her.

Passionflix isn’t working with the kind of budget that a big studio would have for a feature film. If you think of what Hallmark or Lifetime do with their movies? That’s probably more like what you’re getting here. Several of the “big moments” in Hollywood Dirt didn’t work for me, but I’m not sure whether that was due to the source material, the script, the actors, the direction, or the editing. I actually looked away from the screen during one of the sex scenes, and another felt really rushed, something I hope was addressed better in the book. There were some awkward moments in which the male lead is clearly just taking off his shirt for the viewers, something we don’t deal with in novels. He’s handsome, sure, but it was off-putting to me. The heroine is also half dressed for a lot of the film, which adds up to a lot of random scenes with too much skin.

Y’all, I have built a fence before. No one does it shirtless unless they want some real uncomfortable splinters and scrapes.

            Did I like the movie? I’m not sure. I didn’t dislike it. It just felt sort of like a “first movie.” It’s a starting point for Passionflix, and I hope their next films will be better. I had some issues with consent and control in Afterburn/Aftershock and the Jodi Ellen Malpas book, This Man, that they’re adapting later, so I hope they can manage to portray those stories on screen in a way that doesn’t give me the icks.

If you’re thinking about subscribing, I’d suggest that you take a look at the books they have scheduled for production and base your decision off of your feelings about those. They’re not necessarily my cup of tea, which I think has impacted my overall satisfaction with the service. Romance is a massive genre and, just as not every book is for you, not every film or service will be either. I’m going to give it a few more chances, myself.

H&H Editor Picks:

9 Romances H&H Reviewers Loved in October 2017

26 Romances You Won’t Want to Miss!

November 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List






When not blogging for H&H, Suzanne writes about comics for Love in Panels, works as an Author Assistant, and reads All the Things. Tweets about books, comics, and farm animals @cerestheories.

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Chris Alexander
1. Chris Alexander
I was worried if they were going to have a Lifetime feel to them. I'm interested in the Kristen Ashley books coming out. Also, I can't tell you why I'm more embarrassed watching a movie of a beloved romance novel than I am actually reading it. But, that reaction surfaces whenever I try to watch a romance book to movie adaptation.
Chris Alexander
2. peachymp
Well, for $5.99 per month, I'm very happy. I thought Hollywood Dirt was surpisingly funny and sweet and the leads were lovely. AfterBurn AfterShock was more dramatic and glamourous, and I loved the "look" of the film.
Chris Alexander
3. Alie
Is it available for users in Canada or other countries?
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