Take a Drink: when red flags fly
Take a Drink: for each first meeting
Take a Drink: for anything that looks more like an appeal to sex than an appeal to love
Take a Drink: for wishful thinking
Take a Drink: for seriously sketchball situations
Do a Shot: for skeptical cat
Do a Shot: for real marriages
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
I never really understood why mail-order brides always seem to be from Russia or former Soviet Republics until I moved there to teach English for a year. Yeah… the percentage of attractive women here is beyond belief. Anyway, that’s what my wife tells me.
She broke my glasses the first day…
Love Me is a documentary that delves deeply into the process and realities of the very real and very large mail-order bride industry, by following several Americans and one Australian who try to find a wife using online matching services, and the many different ways that search ends for them.
There’s a lot going on under the surface of Love Me. It’s a slickly shot, edited, and scored documentary on a fascinating subject you can’t help but be curious about once you learn of its existence.
So many questions.
It seems fairly uninquisitive at first, though, just following one half of the story- these American men acting like, in their own words, “kids in a candy shop” without pinning them down on just how fucked up that is. As the film hits its halfway mark, you start to wonder if we’re going to get a bunch of superficially happy endings without digging any deeper into even what exactly a happy ending is for everyone involved.
Unsurprisingly, we don’t. Love Me gets really interesting when its subjects’ experiences with searching for a mate abroad run into problems- ranging from visa paperwork to broken expectations, to money lenders and corrupt cops coming out of the woodwork to what appears to be outright fraud from a woman who’s somewhere between desperate and despicable. It’s the men’s varying reactions to these obstacles to their search for love that’s the real meat of the film. We see their vulnerabilities, their illusions* and their disillusionment, and the lies we tell others and, even more often, ourselves when chasing after our most human of needs. By focusing on such a small, atypical segment of the population, Love Me holds up a mirror to us all.
“Lara Croft or Bust!” is the very definition of illusion.
For the first half hour or so, you may suspect you’re watching a glorified commercial for A Foreign Affair, Inc. Stick with it- it’s much smarter than that. My one complaint is that, even though Love Me slyly comments on how services like A Foreign Affair appeal to sexuality through their advertising and events by not shying away from filming this aspect and juxtaposing it with the family values rhetoric of its CEO, it never directly addresses it. I wish they had questioned him more about the sleazier and more eyebrow-raising (10$ per email??) aspects of his business.
I don’t think marriage is what’s being sold here…
Love Me takes a comprehensive look at the ups and downs of searching for a spouse of the “mail-order” variety, along the way touching on what it means to pursue love, and to find or lose it.