Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Photo: Victor Bello/Weinstein Company
We know life isn't like the movies—romance in particular. But as Hollywood's leading ladies chase love and often find it happily ever after, it's tempting to try to copy their moves. To see what kind of advice we're consuming with our popcorn, O watched four chick flicks—two old, two new—looking for the obvious lessons in each plot, as well as any hidden signals. Then we called Judith Sills, PhD—a Philadelphia-based psychologist and author of six books, including A Fine Romance and How to Stop Looking for Someone Perfect—and asked her how the films' messages hold up in real life. First up:

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Plot:
Sensible, engaged Vicky (Rebecca Hall) has a lusty affair with a Lothario artist (Javier Bardem—can you blame her?) but chooses married life with her dull fiancé. Her free-spirited friend, Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), has a wild fling (also with Bardem) but remains happily single.

First-take message: Have a fling—even if it leads nowhere, it's worth it.

On second thought... Better not to know what you're missing.

We wonder: Did Vicky make the right choice?

Judith Sills says: "This may not be the movie ending we want, but security is grossly underrated. A woman like Vicky might be miserable sometimes, but she'll also be cozy."