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Parents' Guide to

My Online Bride

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Unbalanced docu about mail-order brides has cursing, sex.

Movie NR 2014 47 minutes
My Online Bride Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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This documentary illustrates a disturbing social phenomenon and as such might prompt interesting discussions about the monetization of marriage. Some might argue that marriage has always been an institution wholly dictated by financial considerations. But, as the perky narrator asks: "Can you put a price on love?" Apparently, the answer is yes. One agency employee in charge of introducing men to lots of women promises that under his guidance they will "meet more beauties in seven days than you'd meet in a lifetime." He also promises that for Thai women, "the culture is to take care of the man." What's really disturbing about My Online Bride is that at first glance it seems the director takes no position, pro or con, on the practice presented in this slice-of-life look at three British guys looking for "love." But the film neglects to examine the way this lucrative industry implicitly exploits women, how its existence is based on Third World poverty and yearnings for upward mobility, and how it could not thrive without a dependence on oppressive male attitudes toward the role of women in society. By withholding the negatives, the filmmaker in effect endorses the practice.

Either out of professional laziness or bias, the documentary fails to even wonder -- never mind research -- what motivates women to uproot themselves from family, language, country, and sometimes children just to marry a near stranger from halfway around the world. The fact that the men live where the standard of living is high -- the United Kingdom -- might have something to do with it. (Many people around the world mistakenly believe that all British and Americans are wealthy.) Also, while we know that true love is based on less superficial stuff, it can't be ignored that in this film the men are not good-looking, rich, nor particularly sharp. The movie notes that 20 percent of the Thai people survive on less than a British pound per day. What exactly do these guys think these economically disadvantaged women are looking for?

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