Wednesday, 7 September 2011

‘The skin I live in’

I like European movies and by that I mostly mean non-Hollywood films where the action is slower, the scenes longer and the dialogs fewer. I like them for their honesty, their humour and even their lack of modesty. I generally prefer Spanish and French spoken movies of the last decades, mostly because they were easier to find even in the local Greek stores.

Another reason I love these movies is because some of them tend to present stories w
ith a homosexual element in a different way that American movies do. I can very clearly remember for example the first time I watched ‘Gazon maudit’ or ‘Segunda Piel’. The first movie I found funny and the second tantalising but both very interesting. I do recommend you find them and watch them.

Among my favourite directors and writers is Pedro Almodovar. I’ve seen most of his movies back to the time of ‘Women in the verge of a nervous breakdown’, ‘Kika’ or ‘Matador’. I was intrigued by his outrageous stories, peculiar characters and unrealistic situations. Of course not all of his movies are as good. However, I keep coming back to them without a second thought.

His latest movie called ‘The skin I live in’ and demonstrates a plastic surgeon (A. Banderas) with a test subject he holds captive in his house. There are many questions that are triggered. Who is the captive woman? Why does the surgeon hide her and what happened to his family? What’s wrong with her skin? What’s the role of the strictly looking housekeeper?

The story slowly unfolds by travelling back in time, mostly to the surgeon’s past and all stories are at the end answered. If you’ve ever watched another Almodovar movie, then the whole setting of the movie is somewhat familiar. Facial expressions and emotional loud music are two elements that are quickly eminent. The movie trailer demonstrates it to be a thriller, however it is not. There are of course moments of high intensity and the movie is indeed dark, but I wouldn’t say It’s a thriller.

Overall I have to say that I liked it, although I wasn’t amazed. I’d score it 3.5 out of five. I believe that the main characters, Banderas and Paredes who plays the housekeeper are excellent in their roles. I also enjoyed its photography and music. However, I fear that I had higher expectations and I was expecting a masterpiece that I didn’t see. I do recommend it though to those who want to see a different movie with some nice twists.


  1. I agree with you about the beauty and artistry of non-Hollywood films. I enjoyed your review. I'll look for "The Skin I Live In".

  2. This sounds like a good film for my partner.

  3. I am looking forward to seeing this. I have seen many Almodovar films and during the last 10-12 years, we have been spolied by his high quality movies.

    I would be very cautious with the early films - they are weird!

  4. I so agree with you, Nik, as a long time Almodovar watcher. The critics have been, surprisingly, uncritical.

  5. @Cubby Do try to find it and let me know what you think. I appreciate your opinion...

    @Ur-Spo yes, Someone might like it.

    @Stephen_Chapman Did you manage to watch it? What do you think?

  6. @DTaylor I check some reviews before watching a movie, but I do try to make my own opinion.

  7. It's a most valid opinion, and I was particularly struck by the note of, relative, dissent that you sounded in your review as I was disappointed, at least on first viewing, with the film (it put a downer on my day). Unusually for me, I resisted most of the reviews until after I saw the film, and it surprised me that the reviews were as positive as they were. Still, I will give it another go, being the long-time Almodovar-watcher that I am. I will buy the DVD too when it is released, and I will alos check online to see if there is an accompanying soundtrack (I do enjoy the Alberto Iglesias compositions and all of the selections by other artists- Almodovar has an ear for music, with song lyrics often offering a commentary on the action (particularly well done in 'The Flower of My Secret', I think)). Best wishes.

  8. @DTaylor I have bought 'Bad Education' and 'All About my mother' CDs as well. I love the music of his films.
    I was slightly disappointed by the movie too. That's why I put it less than 4 out of five stars. I will see it again of course...