The Reel Review
A rude, spoiled gay filmmaker obsessed with thoughts of suicide meets an obnoxious social media influencer at a gay nudist beach in Mexico. The day before they are due to meet up to collaborate at the artist’s Mexico City apartment, disaster strikes. Sebastián Silva stars in and directs this satirical LGBTQ+ mystery.
Rotting in the Sun is a scathing satire on privilege. Both the Chilean actor/director and the real-life social media influencer Jordan Firstman play cringeworthy versions of their actual selves, set to a hedonistic gay backdrop showcasing a lot of male full-frontal nudity and gay sex. It is an acerbic portrait of addiction – be it recreational drugs, gay hookup culture or social media – and features a ton of subtle, and not so subtle, messages.
The film’s big twist is a delightful shocker, shifting the spotlight onto Catalina Saavedra as the poor put-upon housekeeper Vero. You’ll find yourself rooting for her as she navigates her strange world of culture clashes. Silva also sticks the ending, slapping the perfect exclamation point onto his nihilistic, feel-bad story.
• Catalina Saavedra starred in Sebastián Silva’s acclaimed 2009 psychological thriller The Maid, about a housekeeper terrified of losing her job with the family for whom she’s worked for more than two decades.
• The film’s inclusion of the Zara jacket whose backside reads “I really don’t care, do U?” is a jab at former U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, who wore the same jacket on a June 2018 visit to a children’s shelter at the U.S./Mexico border.
• Rotting in the Sun was filmed in Mexico City and Zipolite Beach, Mexico’s only legal nudist beach.