User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 80 out of 85
  2. Negative: 1 out of 85

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  1. 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. Expand
  2. 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. Expand
  3. 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.
  4. Oct 16, 2011
    8
    Elena Ayana, as usual, is outstanding in this film as Vera. I was a big fan after her scene-stealing role in Sex & Lucia with Paz Vega - which I also recommend highly. Antonio Banderas does a very solid job in his role as the surgeon who has a very tidy little facility in his home. There's not much point in delving into the story because just about anything I can describe would spoil something. It's Almodovar at his near-best. However, it's not for everyone. In my theater, about 5% of the crowd walked out before the first half hour expired. Does nobody read reviews (or see trailiers) anymore?? Collapse
  5. Jan 22, 2012
    8
    Stylistically perfect, a beautiful score, an even more beautiful lead actress. In contrast, a sick and twisted yet greatly woven script, borderline erotic but also dark and sinister. Almodovar is never shy to tell a different story and we are never tired of watching his films.
  6. Nov 28, 2011
    9
    I can deal with the users' average mark of 8/10, but I honestly am appalled by so-called professional critics giving it only an average of 7. This film is absolutely brilliant; admittedly the story is insanely dark and twisted, but it's so good. Ayana is rife with emotions and pulls off a great performance, Banderas does a wonderful (and understated) job as one of his most disturbing roles; music, set design, camera work, everything make this film a great Almodovar flick once again. Expand
  7. Dec 31, 2011
    7
    This is undoubtedly the darkest of all Almodovar. Here, the director abandons almost completely melodramatic speech devoted to him and dives deeply into a realm of more psychological approach than usual, full of nuances and shocking. Proof that he is able to get out of your comfort zone and venture into original productions.

    Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of The Skin I Live In is a
    confused gender identity built upon the character Vicente/Vera. Robert Ledgard, responsible for the handling, believes, like all good stuff, we're just skin we inhabit. Thus, he believes to be carrying the most severe punishment to the rapist of his daughter, as irreversible as death would be a life of shame and humiliation a female body as despised by Vincent (played by an excellent Jan Cornet).

    However, the plot takes unexpected directions when confronted the viewer with the past of Dr Ledgard, plagued not only by the rape (and then suicide) of her daughter, but also by the death of his wife. What should be only a quest for revenge becomes a quest for resurrection of lost love. Vincent gets a face almost identical to the deceased wife of a surgeon and extra protection against burns, skin highly resistant. Robert arrives to declare for their creation transsexual she "never has been burned again". There had been a necrophiliac transfer morbid personality, like the classic **** film "Vertigo".

    Dr Ledgard, by this time had forgotten the whole accident why would continue that crazy saga, but not Vincent. This was still a little about himself alive, a "soul" that overlaps the whole matter that lived there, however modified and tangible (a fact that triggered the tragic end). Thus, it is possible to say that the greatest message of Almodóvar is that no matter where we are or how the body we have modified, our essence will always remain and will overcome (message that can be taken both as an ode to the human soul and beauty inside and a heavy critique of contemporary exaggerations in plastic interventions).

    The art direction is tremendous: the colors of Almodovar almost disappeared, giving way to a cold surgical practice, but not so barren (by contrast, is required for immersion and psychological tension voyeuristic). The picture is flawless, the soundtrack by Alberto Iglesias is one of the best by the Spanish and filmography of the performances leave nothing to be desired. Highlights also include the excellent script and the sober direction. Through The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodovar shows the world that can escape the commonplace that gave him fame and, thus, stands as one of the greatest filmmakers of our time.
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  8. Jun 28, 2012
    7
    The movie is very good. I found it very intresting to watch, kept me intrested all the way to the end! Going into into the film i didnt know what to expect, a shocking film with everything coming to an conclusion when the movie ends. Worth watching!
  9. Dec 22, 2011
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Alicia menstruated. She needs to be cleaned up, down there. First, soapy water gets wringed from a rag, and then, it's a quick spritz from the water bottle, which sanitizes the vaginal expanse from the discharge of period blood with an antiseptic wiping, courtesy of two health care professionals. The female nurse uses gloves; the male nurse, we notice, uses his bare hands on the comatose patient. Although her flesh is often exposed, a woman's erogenous zones, in the context of the hospital, goes through a de-eroticization process, due to the specter of death, but nevertheless, the former dancer, we can plainly see, was a real heartbreaker, so her sexual allure is merely frozen, not lost. Supposedly, Alicia's breasts have turned quotidian, just another part that comprises the female anatomy, breasts stilled by her soporific state, no longer having to endure the crux of objectification, so nobody minds that Benigno(presumed gay) touches Alicia without a latex buffer. Needless to say, in the aftermath of the nurse's fireable offense, the rapist pulled a Jack Tripper on the whole hospital staff. When Benigno touches the vegetative body, it's with latent sexual desire; it's not rote clinical labor, because the benign psychopath impregnates his unconscious charge. But since Alicia's miscarriage results in her awakening, the rapist becomes a hero(in the filmmaker's eyes), and therefore pardoned of his crime. Obscured by the filmmaker's obvious affection for Benigno, is the fact that "Talk to Her", and not just "The Skin I Live In", is actually a horror movie, too, in the human sense, akin to "Straw Dogs". The controversial Sam Peckinpah film presents rape as a collaboration between a sexy woman and a helpless man. Amy Sumner, a mathematician's wife, walks confidently down a busy Cornwall street, braless, with her hard nipples poking through a white blouse, in full view of the menfolk. She's responsible for her own rape, the filmmaker is saying, due to her provocative attire. Worse yet, in "Talk to Her", Alicia has no say in what she wears(a flimsy off-white hospital gown), but gets raped anyway by the male nurse, since men are powerless to the female form, therefore, can't be held accountable for their actions. In the film-within-the-film, a black-and-white one-reeler, a man shrinks to the size of a figurine after downing some potion concocted by his lover, a scientist. Sharing a bed, the man pulls off the covers, revealing the woman's nude body, a landscape, and while she's sound asleep, he walks into her vagina. The orifice recalls the portal in Spike Jonze's "Being John Malkovich", especially near the end where puppeteer Craig Schwartz(John Cusack) ends up, not in the famous actor, but in the consciousness of a small girl, where he is doomed to live life through her eyes, without the benefit of puppet strings to exhort his will on the body and mind. Similarly, the nurse is a puppeteer himself in that Alicia can't move without his prompting. Visibly affected by the film, Benigno says, "And Alfredo stays in her forever," in a melancholic voice, because he knows that his time with the beautiful dancer is strictly circumstantial. Like Craig, the nurse imagines himself living vicariously through somebody else, but instead of taking up occupation in the person's brain, his projected counterpart lives in a vagina, doomed to witness man after man sexually pleasing the woman he loves. "Being John Malkovich" could easily have been directed by this filmmaker, since the 1999 "head movie" deals with sexual identity(and rape) in the same audacious manner, informing not only the sexual mores surrounding "Talk to Her", but "The Skin I Live In", as well. If you lined up the seemingly asexual Benigno alongside the masculine-looking Dr. Robert Ledgard, most people would peg the former as being gay. The manner in which Robert stares at the closed-circuit television feed of his prisoner would seem to confirm his heterosexuality. The mad doctor, however, is a freak; he's the inverse of Maxine, who says, "Behind the too-prominent brow and male pattern baldness, I sensed your feminine longing," to Lotte, lurking behind the famous actor's facade, as they f*ck. Maxine loves her, "but only when [she's] in Malkovich," whereas Robert doesn't yearn for his dead wife, but instead, the man who raped his daughter. When the geneticist forces himself on Vera(who is the spitting image of Gal), he express his latent homosexuality without giving anything away, since Vincente, is, from head to toe, all woman, save for the brain, the same place, by the way, where Craig ends up. At least Vincente gets to be his own puppet master, albeit it's a small consolation for "Being Gal Cruz". In the end, Maxine realizes that she can love Lotte without Malkovich serving as a conduit for her heart, whereas Dr. Ledgard dies before coming to terms with his unresolved feelings for dudes. Expand
  10. Apr 14, 2012
    10
    I have to admit This is the first Almodóvar movie I've ever watched, I generally don't stand watching movies in spanish but ever since I watched Pan's Labyrinth, I give some of them a try, and I don't regret giving this one a try. This movie might not be a masterpiece, but I'd like to give more than a 9 just because this movie made an impact on me, it is a movie that I know will stay in my memory forever, maybe in a creepy way, and that is why I give a freaking 10. Expand
  11. Oct 25, 2011
    8
    You will enjoy particular films even more if you do not know very much beforehand; think The Sixth Sense or The Crying Game. Previews nowadays give away everything including the set up, the conflict, its climax, and sometimes even the ending all before you go and see it. The preview for The Skin I Live In sidesteps the problem of giving things away by only showing select scenes set to music. There is no dialogue to listen to for the potential audience member to find out who is doing what and why. Whoever had the idea to limit this preview did everyone a favor.

    I will only cover the basics of the plot because you really want to go into this film as â
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  12. Mar 19, 2012
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Wow, what a ride. Until the director let me in on what was going on I was lost. But I didn't care as I was completely engrossed, especially with the two leads. There is a lot of issues here and until i started to see where it was going I was enthralled. But when I learned who was who and why was why, it didn't quite hold together. the only way for me to give it a positive rating is to accept that the good doctor, is not only mad but exists in only one world, his own, which has no resemblance to civilization, normalcy, or anything. See it and then discuss it. It will leave an imprint whether you like it or not. It's a hard film for me to rate. I will give it my lowest recommended rating. Perhaps if I see it again, my rating will change. Expand
  13. Dec 15, 2011
    8
    In terms of sheer storytelling, there is not a single movie this year that tops "The Skin I Live In." Almodovar expertly reveals the events bit by bit thanks to a series of telling flashbacks. To give you an idea on how he unfolds the story, the most shocking moment has already happened when the movie begins. It's not until those flashbacks do you realize what is exactly going on. Almodovar's beautiful cinematography perfectly complements the disturbing storyline. When this movie isn't trying to unsettle you, it is devilishly sexy. The performances are also top-notch with Banderas playing against type as a brilliant, but mentally unstable surgeon. The script doesn't do the best at developing its characters, but in this case, the movie's action speaks louder than its words. Expand
  14. Dec 30, 2011
    10
    Classic Pedro Almodovar is back! The Skin I Live In is my favorite film of 2011, having been the only film to keep me smiling for the entire time --- either with its quirk, naughtiness, and over-the-top kitsch, or its very Spanish and clever script. I have not enjoyed an Almodovar film this much since High Heels.
  15. Jan 22, 2012
    9
    Well, first when i wanted to see this film, according to the critics and the awards which this movie has won, i was sure that i'm going to see a good film, but at the end i was really shocked by how great and fantastic it was, the actors are brilliant, story is interesting, almost unique, the characters are believable, and the ending is different. Great Movie.
  16. Mar 12, 2012
    7
    A daunting incompetence of fulfillment from an Almodóvar film is palatable after watching his latest uncannily B-movie skin-alteration thriller. The film has been persistently absorbing to its viewers from A to Z, thanks to a non-linear narration fashion (like BROKEN EMBRACES 2009, an 8/10 rating), a tantalizingly lurid color palette, a magnificently orchestrated score, and a brilliant cast. So where the incompetent sentiment exactly originates from? The unimaginative dialogues (outsiders' trashy talking in an imitated bio-medical clique) and an inexplicable why-they-do-that exposition throttles the consummation of a full-blown frisson, a few question marks lingering abidingly (e.g. Vera's character's initial response to the operation is bizarrely understated).

    As an Almodóvar-tagged film, a nub of identity confusion is more blatant and visually aggressive this time, often the camera deftly pans out and renders enough space and time for miniature details, the noir-accessorized surroundings, including the chilling glass lab, the monitored room and a youngsters' night orgy on the grass, not to mention the inside decoration of doctor's villa, plain Almodóvaresque! Antonio Banderas leads a protean Spanish cast, Elena Anaya, a stand-in for the pregnant Penélope Cruz is breathtaking not only for her physique contour (if there is no double), but in the subtle inner revelation of her character as well (although a bit underdeveloped due to the inept script). Almodóvar's longtime collaborator Marisa Paredes and the newcomer Jan Cornet are both radiating great forms in their screen time. Almodóvar is still one of my favorite directors nowadays, maybe TSILI fails to live up to his vintage standard, but it is also auspicious for groupies to revel in his continuously extended output from other wackily diverting fields.
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  17. Jan 21, 2012
    10
    www.unsungfilms.com by Georgia Xanthopoulou
    I attended a lecture a while ago about Almodovar and his work. It was a very interesting group of people talking, from a Spanish professor talking about the â
  18. Mar 7, 2012
    9
    This is one of the best movies I've watched in a long time, I'm not going to spoil anything to you I'll just say go and watch it if you have a chance, don't be put off by the first half of the movie, it gets good, really good, the plot twist is just astonishing and very well written, you won't regret it.
  19. May 5, 2012
    8
    The movie's official site, including previews, doesn't prepare you for all the taboos, ethics and moral standards this film is unafraid to break through. The story is oh, so unpredictable! It has special effects that makes the gruesome scenes realistic, like nothing Iâ(TM)ve seen before. The aesthetic imagery contrasts with the psychologically horrific moments. Take a minute to read the official movie's advisories on sex, nudity, violence, gore, profanity and intense scenes; then you probably will not want to see it, or, like me, you will be eager to see if all of it is as extreme as it is depicted to be. I think it's close enough.

    How director Pedro AlmodÃ
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  20. Oct 18, 2013
    4
    This is a very bizarre movie that has a good idea at its core but is very badly executed. The first half of the movie is bizarre and makes little sense and offers the viewer nothing in the way of explaination of who the characters are and why things are happening. On top of this, the directing gives the first half a confusing impression: much of it seems like it is meant to be a farce and I was wondering if I was meant to be finding the bizarre antics funny. Only the thing is is that much of it is quite unsettling and contains a disturbingly creepy man who abuses his own mum and then rapes a young woman who has been locked in a room for a very long time. All this leaves the very confused as to what the hell is going on and what direction the movie is going in.

    The second half at least begins to explain some of what we have seen in the first half and from that point onwards you can at least look forward to progression and plot development. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of things that still don't make much sense and the viewer is expected to accept some fairly large diversions from logical reality (people do things and react to situations in ways no normal real world person would, along with many other things that don't fit with normal reality).

    About 2/3 of the way through you figure out where the movie is going (but still not really WHY) and then it is simply a case of watching the inevitable take place on the screen. The ending is unsatisfying and finishes at a point where there is actually some potential for interesting themes.

    I feel I need to qualify my opinion with the fact that I watch many foreign language and independent bizarre films so it is not just the case that I am someone used to very mainstream conventional films.

    While everyone has different opinions, I'm amazed that this film gets such universally positive reviews. I can't help feeling that perhaps this has something to do with it being a foreign language film which I think bluffs many pretentious people into thinking it 'must be good cus it's foreign', and if they don't like it they think it's because they don't understand the more 'intellectual' foreign ways. No, it's just not very good.
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  21. Apr 17, 2013
    7
    Bizarre, twisted, absorbing and marvelous, yet, incomparable with his recent work. Nevertheless, La Piel que habito is completely enjoyable and entertaining.
  22. Sep 26, 2012
    8
    Almodovar did it again... excellent performances, a great interlaced story provided by a great direction and a script that can make Hollywood beg for creativity from this director... (Hollywood remake on the move?)
  23. Abi
    Feb 14, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is beautiful, deranged, horrific, moving, thoughtful, and twisted. Every time I think of this movie I get goosebumps. The movie begins with a brilliant plastic surgeon trying to find a cure to perfect skin after his wife was burned in a car accident. He keeps a beautiful woman locked away in his mansion in which he experiments on. The plastic surgeons maid's (who has cared for him his whole life) son shows up and rapes the woman thinking that it his the plastic surgeons wife. Walking in on the act, the plastic surgeon shoots the son and kills him. Witnessing the rape reminds him of the fate of his daughter some years ago when she was raped at a party, causing her to become mental. The plastic surgeon kidnaps the rapist and locks him in a cell for weeks. After some time of being locked away, he takes him into his mansion where he preforms a sex change on the rapist. The rapist therefore is the woman that he his also experimenting on. He engages in sexual activity with "her", making "her" feel the pain that "she" put his daughter through. He decides to let "her" go, but "she" comes back a day later and they engage in more sexual activity. "She" ends up killing both him and the maid in the end, then leaves to return to "her" family. Expand
  24. Mar 4, 2013
    9
    This movie it's just not obvious. It's always happening something that we just don't expect to happen. A typical Almodóvar portrait of his imaginary society.
  25. Feb 16, 2014
    9
    One of the more stunning films I've seen in a while. This is a brand of horror unlike most -- defined not so much by 'scares' (there aren't really any in the traditional sense), but more so by it's unflinching ability to 'disturb.'
    Built around a great screenplay which admittedly remains rather difficult to completely grasp for a large portion of the film, the awesome cast - carried by
    Antonio Banderas' creepy charisma as well as a stand-out (brilliant) performance by Elena Anaya - pushes through the unpredictable twists perfectly.
    By the end, the fogginess gives way and clarity prevails as the plot slowly lines itself up in perfect time.

    This is a film that will (should) have you feeling uneasy throughout and beyond. Rather brilliantly, the film (under Pedro Almodovar's fantastic direction) causes the viewer to reflect inwardly -- values are turned upside down, morality is twisted into incomprehension, and the ability to form solid opinions of the primary characters remains rather elusive.

    Definitely a film that bolsters the reality of film as an art-form (emphasis on the ART). Oh yeah, and it's in Spanish for those unaware.
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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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.