26 user 4 critic

The Civilization of Maxwell Bright (2005)

After a series of bad relationships, a man orders a mail order bride and receives more than he bargained for.




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7 wins. See more awards »




Credited cast:
... Max Bright
... Mai Ling
... Mr. Wroth
... Jaurice
... Dr. O'Shannon
... Berdette
... Arlis
... Jackson
Rick Mali ... Timo
Constance Hsu ... Mrs. Wroth
... Justice of the Peace
Erryn Cleaver ... Erin the Makeup Artist
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Monique Coppola ... Gabby Client (scenes deleted)
... Buddy DeHare
... Helen


After a series of bad relationships, a man orders a mail order bride and receives more than he bargained for.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A misogynist. A Chinese woman. Together they find his soul. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language including sexual references, some sexuality and graphic nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official site



Release Date:

28 September 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sex & Violence  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


During the standoff at the store, the gun Max is holding jumps from one hand to the other. See more »


Mai Ling: Spirit in toilet very friendly.
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Clarinet Concerto, Rondo Allegro
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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User Reviews

Unexpected and compelling film.
30 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

A plot synopsis of this film has been provided by at least one other reviewer, so I'll skip that. What was striking and refreshing about the film was its refusal to get psychological. I don't think anyone can watch this--especially the first 15 minutes--without wondering where Max's incredible anger comes from. It would have been tempting for the writer/director to include some sort of exposition of his childhood and/or his relationship with his mother and other women, either as flashback or monologue. Instead, what you see is what you get. Max is infantile and uncivilized (as the title implies) and no bones are made about it.

Still it's tempting to speculate. For example, one wonders if his life became chaotic after the loss of his initial girlfriend--the one we get a very good look at in the beginning--or if it was always like that. Does the absence of unconditional love throw his life into nihilistic disarray, or does he just require a girlfriend to keep his house clean? Why does Mei-Ling accept him twice, the second time after he's humiliated her horribly*? Does she see a big teddy bear in there or is she taking him on as a project? I see this as a strength of the film. Too much psychologizing feels like condescension. "Here. Let me explain every motive the characters have because I'm sure you're not sharp enough to think about them on your own." This is an excellent and powerful film, which ultimately imparts a sense of tenderness and peace without ever becoming mawkish.

*After having thought about it and, thanks to comments from other viewers, I have a theory about this question. If a Buddhist would enter hell in order to save another person from it, Mei-Ling continued to accept Max in order to take his place in hell. Perhaps the Buddhists know that such an act will redeem them both.

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