Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 88 Ratings

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  • Summary: Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed a further three things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig... Loosely based on Thierry Jonquet's 1995 novel "Mygale." (Sony Pictures Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Nov 3, 2011
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Nov 3, 2011
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 14, 2011
    It all achieves a loony unity by the end, even though what is being unified is not altogether palatable.
  4. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Oct 13, 2011
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 9, 2011
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 14, 2011
    Almodovar makes some missteps in his icky mélange of melodrama and mischief, but the end result is playfully devious.
  7. 50
    It's the only Almodóvar movie in which feeling, emotional or sexual, doesn't suffuse the imagery and hold the ramshackle melodrama together.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Abi
    Feb 14, 2013
    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
  2. Dec 30, 2011
    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. Collapse
  3. Feb 16, 2014
    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.
  4. Dec 15, 2011
    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
  5. Oct 16, 2011
    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?? Expand
  6. Jun 28, 2012
    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! Expand
  7. Oct 18, 2013
    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.

See all 25 User Reviews


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