For the context of this review and discussion of Indonesian film ‘Love for Sale‘, my name is Lucy Gair and I am a 23 year old white, cis, woman with a Scottish heritage. Despite spending the past five years studying media I unfortunately have a lack of experience with foreign films, and even less contact with asian films. Therefore, I watched this film with fresh eyes, and can say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The audience is immediately introduced to the films protagonist Richard, who quickly proves himself to be an irritable, awkward and lonely man, living alone with a large tortoise and running a printing business under his apartment. In order to settle a bet against his friends, Richard hires a date from a new dating website to attend a wedding but unknowingly hired Arini for 45 days. The rest of the film showcased how Richard and Arini’s relationship blossomed from awkward acquaintances to a seemingly loving couple.
Richard continued to demonstrate unlikable and awkward behaviour and only began to treat his employees with respect after his and Arini’s relationship grew to be romantic, however despite all of Richard’s flaws I could not help but feel empathetic towards him. Loneliness is a tough feeling overcome, especially if it has settled in your life for so long and is known to have damaging affects to a persons self esteem and overall personality, as the audience can see with Richards character. At the end of the film Richard becomes generous with his employees and turns to treat them with more respect, while these are the bare necessities an employer should be giving his workers anyway it is a stark contrast to the grumpy, critical Richard, pre-Arini. This shows that Richard always had these qualities within himself but they had been slowly repressed due to his loneliness and unhappiness with his life. It was hard to like Richard, but it was even harder not to be understanding and compassionate towards him too.
Upon researching ‘Love for Sale’, it was the promotional photo that stood out to me.
Love for Sale (2018), image, IMDb, viewed 5th August 2020, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8065796/?ref_=ttmi_tt
What was particularly notable was how clean and expensive the bed and surrounding props were in comparison to the films actual furniture. Richard is portrayed as an upper-middle class man living in Indonesia, however in the film he wears pyjamas that have rips and holes in them, exhibiting his lazy nature. The clothes the actor, Gading Marten, is wearing are significantly cleaner with no visible holes. Another difference between the advertisement of the film and the film itself is how the lighting in the image is used to hide Marten’s grey hairs and wrinkles around his eyes, thus presenting himself and Della Dartyan’s character to be much closer in age. Whereas in the film Richard is 41 and Arini is 25, a big and inappropriate age gap for a couple in Western culture however in the film there is no mention of this age difference or the age difference between Richard and the woman he stood up in the cafe at the beginning of the film who also seemed significantly younger than him. The promotional photo does not signify the plot of the film in any way and it seems the selling point for audience members are the two actors and a centrally placed tortoise. Love for Sale was an interesting film in that it did not contain one, set villain instead having a series of complex characters all with flawed and redeemable features, making for an enjoyable watch.
Image found: Love for Sale (2018), image, IMDb, viewed 5th August 2020, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8065796/?ref_=ttmi_tt
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