Netflix’s mail order bride documentary is as compelling as it is cruel.

When I was a child, a recently divorced family friend returned from his holiday with a tan, some floral patterned towels and a wife.

I didn’t see anything odd about it at the time, but I later learned their meeting wasn’t the ‘holiday’ romance I once believed.

It was more of a long-term financial arrangement that involved a lot of silent dinners and three children we later learned didn’t exist.

Netflix’s latest documentary, My Online Bride, cashes in on the stigmatised world of “mail order brides” to present three men with one shared goal: true love.

The first man is 46-year-old exotic animal specialist Chris. Chris is the lonely doting dad of 10-year-old Holly.

Chris models a shirt for his daughter who remarks he looks like a "tango dancer." (Source: Netflix.)

The quest to find a step-mum is presented as a joint decision as Chris and Holly browse profiles of women together.

"She looks like a drug addict," Holly remarks, looking at one of the profiles.


Chris soon jets off to Thailand for a"romance tour" of Bangkok where he meets Baimon and is infatuated-at-first-sight.

The  pair go on a date where they take couple photos, hold hands and present an eerie parody of a real relationship. It's all tender touches and bridge walks until it's revealed he must shell out a lot of cash to her family if he wants a second date.

I love when I'm on a date and girls stare into their phones. (Source: Netflix)

The next man to be introduced is 26-year-old virgin and call centre worker Mike. Mike squeezes the camera crew into his dimly lit room to share his desire to meet Ukrainian born Tatiana.

Awkwardly hunched and reeking of prepubescence, Mike explains he will be staying with Tatiana in her apartment in Kiev. Mike initially describes her as out of his league but this kind of respect is lost as soon as they sleep together.

I know. Shocking. I can't believe everything changed once they had sex.

Click below to watch as Mike transforms from sympathetic geek to every greasy-haired loser we've ever known.

His quest for that "one true love" is forgotten and he enters the office of his "marriage agent" to explain why he now wants to meet several other women.

Acting like the dog who's been kicked, Mike explains how his two-day relationship with Tatiana has left him feeling overwhelmed.

Mike just wants to have his cake and eat it too. )))): (Source: Netflix.)

It is at this point the documentary turns, as if the directors reached through the screen and gently lifted the rose-coloured glasses off the sympathetic viewer.

The bullshit line of "true love" is lost in a sea of references to the "golden days" of fifties housewives who really knew how to take care of "their man".


Hurr, hurr, hurr. Good one, Sam. (Source: Channel 4/Netflix.)

Sam tours the crew through his messy home before explaining how he anticipates the housework will soon be taken up by his new wife, 29-year-old Thai woman Apple.

"I'm not sexist but... women like doing, well they may not like it but they do stuff like that, don't they," he explains.

Nah, mate. You can take that collective use of women and shove it right up your dirty laundry chute.

The only man to escape this unveiling of true intentions is doting dad Chris whose story ends with tears, heartbreak and an awkward shout-out to the human trafficking trade.

Cccchrissss ixxx-nayy on the rafficking-tayyyy. (Source: Netflix.)

Chris soon dissolves into tears after he learns he cannot afford to date his newly found Thai girlfriend.

Honestly, Chris, you might just be better off alone.

The ending leaves you feeling like you've both learned a lot and very little. You wonder if Chris found love at home, you wonder if Mike regrets showing himself to be a total dickhead at age 26 and you hope that Sam is somewhere, scrubbing.

My Online Bride is compelling, disgusting and impossible to forget.

The documentary is currently streaming on Australian Netflix.