Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 19, 2011
    75
    Though I usually take pleasure in Almodovar's sexy darkness, this film induces queasiness.
  2. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Oct 14, 2011
    88
    Spanish master filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar offers up a grisly Halloween trick-and-treat in his first full-out horror movie, an eye-popping and genuinely shocking gender-bending twist on Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo.''
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Oct 13, 2011
    88
    Even when the film's frigid elegance, perfectly captured by cinematographer José Luis Alcaine, becomes off-puttingly clinical, Almodóvar's passion burns through. The skin he lives in is alive to challenge no matter what warped form it takes.
  4. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 20, 2011
    75
    Pedro Almodóvar is one of the few filmmakers with the ability to infuse the screen with his own consciousness, and to see The Skin I Live In is to enter into his nightmare.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 14, 2011
    83
    It all achieves a loony unity by the end, even though what is being unified is not altogether palatable.
  6. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Oct 19, 2011
    83
    Allusions to "Vertigo," "Rebecca," and Georges Franju's great 1960 French horror movie "Eyes Without a Face" are intentional: The Skin I Live In is, above all, the creation of a movie fanatic who loves to look.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Oct 13, 2011
    90
    Ultimately an original film that forces us, time and again, to reconsider what we think we've just seen, and what we're sure we feel - not only about mere appearance, or fateful gender, but about who, under our skin, we truly are.
  8. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 14, 2011
    63
    As coldly calculating and infuriating as it can be, the film and its production design are stunning. But characters' actions and motivations are beyond comprehension.
  9. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Oct 27, 2011
    75
    The Skin I Live in is Almodóvar reaching back to his sickest, kinkiest self, and it's nice to see him trying to luxuriate in sleaze again.
  10. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Nov 9, 2011
    89
    Banderas, taking time off from voicing kids' films and appearing in Robert Rodriguez outings, plays Ledgard with just the right amount of borderline-freaky, intensity, and Anaya is another of Almodovar's terrifically talented and shockingly beautiful female leads.
  11. 50
    It's the only Almodóvar movie in which feeling, emotional or sexual, doesn't suffuse the imagery and hold the ramshackle melodrama together.
  12. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Nov 3, 2011
    88
    By the end of the movie, when all your questions have been answered, you're left with the exhilarating high of having been manipulated by a gifted artist in a diabolically dark mood.
  13. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Oct 13, 2011
    90
    There are several genres nimbly folded into The Skin I Live In, which might also be described as an existential mystery, a melodramatic thriller, a medical horror film or just a polymorphous extravaganza. In other words, it's an Almodóvar movie with all the attendant gifts that implies: lapidary technique, calculated perversity, intelligent wit.
  14. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Oct 20, 2011
    50
    The real problem, however, is the male protagonist and his foul inner life: Almodovar's impressive recent work has focused on the rich emotionality of women, and though the film provides an interesting take on gender and submission, this sort of nastiness just isn't his thing.
  15. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 20, 2011
    75
    The film is an exercise in improbable contrasts. The more extreme the actions of the characters, the more contained and fastidious the director's technique.
  16. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 13, 2011
    80
    It's as stylish and kinky as you could want, but compared to his recent female-centric melodramas ("Broken Embraces," "Volver," "All About My Mother"), this is a chilly genre exercise that casts his obsession with gender and sexuality in a harsh new light.
  17. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Nov 3, 2011
    91
    And while it may be true that Almodóvar doesn't have Hitchcock's way with terror, it's not clear that Hitchcock could leave the real world behind so wholly and convincingly as Almodóvar does here.
  18. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 14, 2011
    60
    Almodovar makes some missteps in his icky mélange of melodrama and mischief, but the end result is playfully devious.
  19. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Oct 13, 2011
    70
    The Skin I Live In is a meditation on profound themes: memory, grief, violence, degradation, and survival - so why does it leave the viewer (at least this one) so curiously unmoved? Watching the parts of this multigenerational melodrama slowly fuse into a coherent (if wackily improbable) whole offers aesthetic and intellectual gratification, but little in the way of emotional punch.
  20. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Oct 20, 2011
    63
    I'll say one thing for The Skin I Live In, Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar's ambitious, crazy, even a-little-bit-infuriating new film: I did not see it coming.
  21. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Nov 16, 2011
    50
    It's as disquieting as it is unsatisfying, a slog through gender issues, surgery and violence - sexual and otherwise.
  22. Reviewed by: Kirk Honeycutt
    Oct 10, 2011
    50
    Like many lab experiments, this melodramatic hybrid makes for an unstable fusion. Only someone as talented as Almodóvar could have mixed such elements without blowing up an entire movie.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Oct 13, 2011
    70
    There's no reason Banderas, after two Hollywood decades, couldn't do Robert justice; yet for a man whose mourning has turned to madness, he is strangely remote, lifeless, displaying neither rage nor poignancy. If Anaya is the heart at the center of the film, Banderas is the hole.
  24. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Oct 12, 2011
    75
    Had Almodóvar embraced the genre more, and changed his style to suit a story in which human beings get hacked up and transformed, he might've naturally found his way into a more potent, satisfying narrative, rather than one that dawdles and dead-ends.
  25. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Nov 3, 2011
    80
    There are plot twists and turns, some of which amuse, some of which disgust. Issues of gender and identity take an eventual backseat to gruesome experiments -- gruesome because of the manner in which they're conducted, by an unfeeling monster.
  26. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Nov 23, 2011
    75
    While Banderas' dark intensity overshadows the potential poignancy of the story, Almodovar is such a skilled surgeon that he extracts a juicy nugget of pleasure from a purely distasteful premise.
  27. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Oct 11, 2011
    60
    You never feel the burn in The Skin I Live In, certainly not the way you do in an immortal shocker like "Eyes Without a Face." It's almost as if Almodóvar wanted to reach out into a gory genre, but couldn't do so without wearing prissy gloves.
  28. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 9, 2011
    63
    There's plenty of melodrama, plenty of whispered intensity, plenty of dramatic pauses in his story. There also are a few bizarro -- and, in some cases, unnecessary -- detours. But when it's all said and done, there's no real call for any emotional investment on the part of his audience.
  29. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Oct 10, 2011
    60
    Much as he did with Ruth Rendell's "Live Flesh," Almodovar has taken an ice-cold psychological thriller, penned by a novelist of far less humanistic temperament, and performed some stylistic surgery of his own, adding broad comic relief, overripe melodrama, outrageous asides and zesty girl-power uplift.
  30. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 14, 2011
    67
    The Spanish auteur has a good time with outrageous plot twists and offbeat sexual intrigue. However, Almodóvar appears unmotivated to even try holding it all together. Instead, he lets the mess pile up and enjoys it.
  31. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Nov 30, 2011
    58
    Almodóvar dives into perversity, practically daring the audience not to follow. The Skin I Live In is a mediocre addition to his resume, yet for fans, even bad Almodóvar is better than none at all.
  32. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Oct 11, 2011
    50
    Surreal but disappointingly drab, it's still not the best Almodovar in years. Despite the usual Almodovar plot twists, kinky sex and themes of sexual identity reversal, gender bending and mad desire, the cult auteur has gone off the tracks and lost his compass.
  33. 50
    Though beautiful to look at and graced with moments of ticklish camp, The Skin I Live In is also sluggish, arbitrarily conceived and, especially in its sagging middle, unaccountably dull.
  34. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Sep 26, 2011
    63
    This is a beautiful vision, but in telling too many flowery secrets, it's also one that unnecessarily keeps its queerness in the closet.
  35. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Oct 14, 2011
    75
    Aside from his usual bold color schemes, Almodóvar has managed a remarkably restrained telling of what's in essence a sci-fi psychosexual melodrama set in the very near future of 2012 Toledo.
  36. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Oct 13, 2011
    70
    Though Almodóvar has retained the creep factor of his source material, he hasn't fully embraced its darkness.
  37. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Oct 11, 2011
    50
    The film deflates in its final third, with crude matter-of-fact set pieces, dumb explanatory psychology, and bursts of intentional camp overwhelming and canceling out the unmoored creepiness.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 88 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Dec 31, 2011
    9
    I can not explain, that strangest movie, fascinating mind traps you until the last minute. great the soundtrack was one of the key parts that will make this film a gem. Almadovar wow, you know making movies shocking. Full Review »
  2. Nov 21, 2011
    6
    After three straight boring disasters, this film is an improvement. He is still no where near the top of his game as in "All About My Mother" or "Talk to Her" but at at least I was interested and did not walk out shaking my head and cursing. The story was too convoluted for the mild payoff that we got at the end but at least there was a payoff. Pedro is simply running out off his bag of kinky tricks as times are passing him by. Een the old style 1960's endings are starting to lose their allure. Still, it gave me hope that the next film may return us to the mountaintop we reached a decade ago. I am wiling to give it a try. Full Review »
  3. Nov 12, 2011
    7
    The latest from Pedro Almodóvar is unlike anything he's done before: it's not an offbeat comedy or an introspective drama. More a moody science fiction tragedy. Antonio Banderas plays a plastic surgeon who's created a beautiful sort of Frankenstein. His drive for a medical breakthrough combines with grief and revenge to motivate his intense obsession. The film is visually interesting, often off kilter and intriguing on several levels, but some may find the deliberate pacing gets in the way of the film's power. Still, it's an unusual, compelling and slightly-creepy experience. Full Review »