Love for Sale: An Inside look into Indonesia

The promotional poster for the Indonesian movie ‘Love for Sale’. Source: Imdb.

‘Love for Sale’ is an Indonesian movie that was released in 2018. It discusses the story of Richard, a middle aged man trying to find a women who would only go out with him for the night of his friend’s wedding. This search leads him to the loveinc. company and to meeting Arini, the movie’s female protagonist and Richard’s love interest. One of the main things that I noticed throughout this movie is the similarities between Indonesian culture and my culture. There were also things included in the movie that I thought were shocking and unexpected. Before I start discussing both of these things, I will be talking a little bit about my culture and upbringing. I am a Muslim woman who was born and raised in Lebanon. There, I lived in a Muslim majority area and in this movie, there were many Islamic aspects present. This is one of the points that I discussed in one of my tweets while I was watching the movie.

Another aspect that is similar in both cultures is the pressure to find a suitable partner to marry. Although the difference is that in this movie it was Richard’s friends who were putting pressure on him to find a partner. While, from my personal experience, I’ve noticed that in Muslim countries and communities in the Middle East, it is the parents who wish for their children to get married as soon as possible and to have many children.

There were certain things in this movie that were shocking and unexpected for me. As a Muslim, when it was shown that some of the characters were Muslim, I did not expect this movie to include many scenes that show un-Islamic values like drinking alcohol, as well as, men and women living with each other and having sex before marriage.

One student tweeted that he thought it was interesting how English words were used then and there in the movie. He also pointed out the possibility that that this was done because of the prior knowledge that this film was going on Netflix. This got me thinking that maybe this wasn’t exactly the case but the reason was still derived from wanting non-Indonesian English speaking viewers to relate to this movie. Another possibility that he mentioned is that Indonesians often use English words within their vocabulary and so that is why it was used in the movie.

I was able to learn many things about Indonesian culture, that I was not familiar with before, from this experience of watching the ‘Love for Sale’ movie. Although, I obviously do not believe that this one movie or any movie for that matter represents the cultural aspects and daily life of a country like Indonesia that has a very large and diverse population.


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