Heading South Review

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Three middle-aged women seek and pay for sexual adventure in the poverty-blighted island of Haiti in the early 80s. But all is not just bliss and consumer satisfaction.

★★★★★

Sex tourism may be a familiar subject, but the gender dynamics of Laurent Cantet’s drama render it intriguing. Here, middle-aged women lounge on a Haiti beach treating lithe local lads to lunch as payment for services rendered.

That Charlotte Rampling is one of them is a plus: her strong-willed, sexual character Ellen seethes with bitterness about getting old. But the dialogue is increasingly stilted, and the women’s monologues to camera rarely work. Ménothy Cesar is watchable as gigolo Legba, but his character is as undercooked as the subplot. As a glimpse into a curious subculture this provokes interest, but in dramatic and political terms it’s a missed opportunity.

Good idea but misses a trick or two.