Paradise: Love - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Paradise: Love Reviews

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½ December 27, 2016
A must watch if you want to study sex tourism. After all, who is exploiting who?
January 27, 2016
By sharing & handling almost the exact same subject as well as story backdrop of (Heading South), which turns out a little bit better & slightly more interesting.
May 12, 2015
In short: Remarkable film about sex tourism in Africa for 50+ women

I saw this film at the Ghent filmfestival 2012. We were told that it was the first of three related films, the two successors to be named 'Paradise: Faith' (already released), and 'Paradise: Hope' (to be released in 2013). Quote from festival announcement: "On Kenya's beaches they are known as 'sugar mamas': European women who seek out African boys selling love to earn a living. Teresa, a 50-year-old Austrian woman, travels to this vacation paradise. 'Paradise: Love' tells of older women and young men, of Europe and Africa, and of the exploited, who end up exploiting others."

The festival screening took place in a fully booked venue (225 seats). More than half (very unusual) of the people stayed for the final Q&A with the principal actor (Margarete Tiesel), and there were (also unusual) many relevant questions. She admitted upfront that she had not read the script prior to shooting (though she did after wards). She is a professional actor, but the African boys are all amateurs.

What struck me the most when watching this film, is that the "boys" never ask money for their "services" in a direct way. Rather they always seem to have a family member in financial difficulties, badly in need of financial support, medical bills being the most common story. We see that happen on Terese's first trip outside the hotel, where her "boy" takes her to his sister (not really, as we see later on), and subsequently a school teacher. Each one has a sad story and needs money. And when she does not cough up enough money, the boy refuses to be touched anymore. On her second trip Teresa seems very aware of all this, recognizing it as standard operating procedure. She starts playing along without feeling awkward about it, and gradually appears to have found her way in this "game".

In the final Q&A the subject "exploitation" came about several times, apparently without easy answers. It is not exploitation per se, when both sides look happy with the arrangement. She talked with several other women there with ample experience in the matter. Some bought for instance a motor bike for her African "lover", or even a house, and travel a few times per year to the area. The "boys" speak one of the usual European languages (English, German, etc); which one is dependent on the area. Yet, while the story progresses, we nevertheless observe a certain language barrier, several times causing misunderstandings about mutual intentions.

All in all, this is a remarkable feature film bordering on a documentary about sex tourism. We have heard about sex tourism in Thailand, particularly for men. This time it is about women with money to spend. The film clearly demonstrates to us how it works. What the films shows is very explicit, even to the extent that we see Teresa explaining to the "boy" how she prefers to be touched, and we closely observe him learning which way works best for her. This scene marks the duality of their respective roles, not parasitic but rather symbiotic. Showing all this in a natural way, without too much embarrassment for us viewers, is an achievement in itself. I scored a 5 (out of 5) for the audience award when leaving the theater.
½ January 14, 2015
So much misery. But that's life.
½ December 26, 2014
Raw and real. Loved it. An Austrian woman goes to Kenya for a holiday and, along with some travel mates, partakes of far more then beach chairs and sun. A realistic look at the very high cost of love for rent and of colonial exploitation.
½ October 8, 2014
A methodical, if somewhat overly slow drama about the pitfalls and emotional realisations garnered when a 40 something year old Austrian lady heads of to Africa & unwittingly becomes a sex tourist. Embarrassing, amusing & distressing in often equal measure this is a solid look at a subject not often viewed from this perspective.
½ September 16, 2014
This film starts off with a very stylish direction using the visuals of Kenya to great effect. This style at least is abandoned to an extent once the story takes over and it's a very sincere depiction of sex tourists, their naivety towards the locals and their poverty and exploitation by both sides. It's a very interesting star to a thoughtful film trilogy.
September 6, 2014
wow....funny,......sad....moving....touching....sad, but good, man i have just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a good movie 2 watch......its got a good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie.....i think that Helen Brugat, Dunja Sowinetz, Inge Maux, Peter Kazungu, Margarethe Tiesel, play good roles/parts throughout this movie.....i think that the director of this art house/international/drama movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this this is such a funny movie 2 watch, but in some ways this is such a really really sad movie 2 watch, i think that this is such a really well directed movie 2 watch, its got a good cast throughout this movie.....

It tells the story of a 50-year-old white woman who travels to Kenya as a sex tourist. The project is an Austrian production with co-producers in Germany and France. It is the first installment in Seidl's Paradise trilogy, a project first conceived as one film with three parallel stories.

Paradise: Love competed at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It subsequently screened within such festivals as Toronto International Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival and New Zealand International Film Festival.

Critical response

Allan Hunter of Screen International wrote: "Love adheres to [Seidl's] methods of working without a traditional script and developing individual scenes from detailed planning and the interaction of professional and non-professional actors. In Love, that results in memorable, highly convincing naturalistic moments as Teresa discusses her desires and vulnerability with a giggly fellow sex tourist or bitterly confronts the reality of a country where love is a transaction rather than a genuine response of the heart. It also creates a rambling, overlong film that just doesn't grip sufficiently to overcome the predictability of the story."Leslie Felperin wrote in Variety: "Ulrich Seidl's Paradise: Love is hardly the first film to explore the world of wealthy women and the young studs who service them; it's not even the first to do it in a sex-tourism context, having been beaten to the punch by 2006's Heading South. But it sure as hell is the dirtiest. ... Repulsive and sublimely beautiful, arguably celebratory and damning of its characters, it's hideous and masterful all at once, Salo with sunburn." Also Screen International and The Hollywood Reporter compared the film to Heading South in their reviews

YOU HAVE GOT TO WATCH THE END OF THE CREDITS THROUGHOUT THIS MOVIE AS SOMETHING HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE CREDITS THROUGHOUT THIS i found this such a really sad movie 2 watch, but at the same time this movie is just so funny, it is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch, it is such a really well written/acted/directed movie 2 watch.....its got a great cast throughout this movie, man this is such a sad movie 2 is such a sad movie 2 watch but it is such a good movie 2 watch.....

Paradise: Love premiered on 18 May 2012 in competition at the 65th Cannes Film Festival. The trilogy's other installments, Paradise: Faith and Paradise: Hope, are planned to appear at forthcoming film festivals


Editing of the whole project took one year and a half. Seidl went through many rough cuts of which he thought several were good films, but realised that no matter what, it was going to end up five and a half hours long. He also thought the three different stories weakened each other, instead of making each other more interesting. The decision was then taken to split the project into three separate films, and release them as a trilogy.

its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie....but man this is such a really funny/sad movie 2 watch its got a great cast throughout this movie. but it is such an enjoyable movie 2 watch with a good cast throughout this movie......
½ August 31, 2014
Twas like watching a film that was on channel 4 late at night in the 80's. This kinda thing is going on all the time, fascinatingly funny to see it on the big screen.
½ August 29, 2014
Cleverly made, very genuine and surprisingly disturbing to watch. A mix of exploitation and childlike curiosity mixed with scams and an underlying sense of depression. Top that off with an almost desperate search for happiness and you have Paradise: Love.
½ August 24, 2014
Truth is rather painful too watch; it makes me wonder why some of the characters are insensitive, maybe it's the desperation that causes their callousness?
August 20, 2014
Moralmente incómoda.
August 4, 2014
Comfortably the best of Seidl's 'Paradise' trilogy and probably the most uncomfortable one to watch. Brilliant cinematography, great performances and some intensely edgy scenes related to sex tourism and other morally questionable Third/First World economical and cultural interchanges.
July 30, 2014
It's ugliness is quite necessary, and it delivers in a compelling way.
July 26, 2014
Interesting cultural interplay.
½ May 1, 2014
Una visión interesante de un mercado desconocido.
April 15, 2014
An ugly and unpleasant surprise from Ulrich Seidl. But I found this sugar-mama sex-tourism-adventure is an intruiging character study.
March 21, 2014
I'm in shock that Austria has such a dark corner in their film industry. This is the first Ulrich Seidl film I've seen and I will try to watch more. This is a grimly realistic story and the acting is so good that you could almost imagine it was a fly on the wall documentary. The story is an insight into a world I never knew existed but probably does. It's a very unconfortable watch from start to finish but is excellently directed.
½ March 19, 2014
Natural filmmaking, an amusing and quite disturbing start to Seidl's trilogy.
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