• Studio: A24
  • Release Date: Apr 4, 2014
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 42
  2. Negative: 3 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Apr 10, 2014
    100
    Weird. Brilliant. Stunning. Under the Skin is by far the most memorable movie of the first few months of 2014.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Apr 4, 2014
    100
    This stark and intensely controlled film is the work of a powerful visual stylist and storyteller, one who looks like he belongs on the short list of directors who have carried the narrative methods of the silent era deep into modern cinema.
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Apr 4, 2014
    100
    A brilliant science fiction movie — more of an "experience" than a traditional story, with plenty to say about gender roles, sexism and the power of lust?
  4. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Apr 3, 2014
    100
    Watching this film feels like a genesis moment — of sci-fi fable, of filmmaking, of performance — with all the ambiguity and excitement that implies.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Apr 1, 2014
    100
    Very little in Under the Skin is clear at all. Its secrets unspool in mysterious, supple ribbons, but that's part of its allure, and its great beauty.
  6. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Mar 28, 2014
    100
    Throughout, what truly matters to director Jonathan Glazer is articulating through visual and aural enticement the unconscious power of our death drive.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew Lowry
    Mar 10, 2014
    100
    You may not be sure what you've seen, but you've sure seen something. With neither a petticoat nor a wideboy in sight, this is one of the most original and exciting British movies in some time.
  8. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    Sep 17, 2013
    100
    It’s an intoxicating marvel, strange and sublime: it combines sci-fi ideas, gloriously unusual special effects and a sharp atmosphere of horror.
  9. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Sep 17, 2013
    100
    Glazer’s astonishing film takes you to a place where the everyday becomes suddenly strange, and fear and seduction become one and the same.
  10. Reviewed by: Xan Brooks
    Sep 17, 2013
    100
    Under the Skin is perhaps best viewed as an icy parable of love, sex and loneliness.
  11. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Apr 17, 2014
    91
    There's something fairly malignant in the way Glazer's strange movie holds attention, against the urge to give up and leave. There is no doubting its boundless artistry or pretension, a dangerous position for any movie in today's love-me pop culture to place itself in. Under the Skin is exactly where it gets.
  12. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Apr 2, 2014
    91
    Under The Skin is rich with menacing atmosphere, so much so that viewers could probably tune out the narrative and still get on the proper wavelength.
  13. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Apr 15, 2014
    90
    Glazer is nothing if not ambitious; the rough edge of naturalism, on the streets, slices into the more controlled and stylized look of science fiction, and the result seems both to drift and to gather to a point of almost painful intensity.
  14. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    Apr 12, 2014
    90
    Actors aren’t Navy SEALs, I know, but Johansson was, in fact, brave to take on this role: brave in that it’s a sharp left turn from what audiences expect or even like; brave in that she embraced an artistically bold method of building a movie when most other movie stars would have said no thanks to the idea of chatting up random Scotsmen in a van.
  15. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Apr 3, 2014
    90
    The movie’s eerie, climactic image challenges our conventional notions of human identity and leaves us reflecting on the possibility that every being in the universe is an alien in disguise.
  16. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Apr 3, 2014
    90
    The extraordinary achievement of Under The Skin is that while Laura develops some human qualities, Glazer resists the temptation to turn this alien’s story into the story of what it means to be human.
  17. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Apr 16, 2014
    89
    What makes Under the Skin such a mind-blower has everything to do with Johansson’s chillingly unempathetic turn as the, well, whatever she is, coupled with cinematographer Daniel Landin’s disorienting, hallucinogenic visuals.
  18. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Apr 18, 2014
    88
    A deeply creepy and mysterious noir.
  19. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 12, 2014
    88
    It feels fresh and unpredictable, as quietly strange as the remarkable musical score from first-time feature film composer Mica Levi.
  20. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Apr 10, 2014
    88
    With long, quiet takes in which he simply observes Johansson wordlessly taking in the world around her, Glazer infuses the everyday modern world with a surpassing sense of strangeness and doom.
  21. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 10, 2014
    88
    What’s under the film’s surface is intriguing enough, but it’s the surface itself that holds you in a dark trance. A portrait of alienation filmed from the alien’s point of view — or is it just a woman’s? — the movie’s a cinematic Rubik’s Cube that snaps together surprisingly easily, yet whose larger meanings remain tantalizingly out of reach.
  22. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Apr 3, 2014
    88
    A brave experiment in cinema that richly rewards the demands it makes. The result is an amazement, a film of beauty and shocking gravity.
  23. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Apr 17, 2014
    83
    Virtually all science fiction functions as metaphor, and I took this film to be a metaphor for the act of becoming fully human.
  24. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Sep 17, 2013
    83
    A totally wacky head-trip with midnight movie sensibilities and a daring avant garde spirit, Glazer's movie is ultimately too aimlessly weird to make its trippy narrative fully satisfying, but owes much to Johansson's intense commitment to a strangely erotic and unnerving performance unlike anything she has done before.
  25. Reviewed by: Chris Willman
    Sep 17, 2013
    83
    Johannson turns out to be perfectly cast, being able to shift from blank alien mode to kittenish seduction without ever letting you see the switch being turned on or off.
  26. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Sep 17, 2013
    83
    Under the Skin is a deliberately oblique piece of work that prizes rhythms and textures above hows and whys.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 160 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 62
  2. Negative: 17 out of 62
  1. May 5, 2014
    3
    3 things I LOVE in a film: Stunning Visuals. Science Fiction. Scarlett Johansson. Given everything it had going for it I assumed an evocative story would be in store. I assumed wrong. So. So. So. Wrong. Next Stanley Kubrik? Please. This music video director needs to get over himself. Full Review »
  2. Apr 21, 2014
    2
    Wow. Even Scarlett Johansson's nudity couldn't save this 'artistic' piece from the monotone drone of alternating silence and annoying buzzing to the entirely uninteresting and utterly forgetful character development of the lead. The director's failure to get you the least bit interested in the character's development is a fatal flaw which leaves you mired in one boring shot after another. Symbolic? Sure. Do you care at all? No. There is nothing gripping and it ends as disappointingly as it plods along from the beginning. People walked out and for good reason. I stayed because I hoped for redemption at the end. FAIL. Full Review »
  3. Apr 19, 2014
    10
    Oh my God. I was always excited for this film, but this is just above and beyond what I could have imagined. This film is not for everyone because it's so incredibly arthouse, but I honestly think that if people talked about the film, they'd see it in a new light.

    Virtually nothing here is meant to be taken literally; it's extremely symbolic. It's an allegorical trip that is haunting, intriguing, sublime, gorgeous, sad, different, strange, human, spellbinding, unforgettable, and masterful, utilizing all of these qualities that convey what it means to be a human. What is also is about, though, is reveling in the questions and finding answers.

    The cinematography is immaculate and the sound design is incredible. The score is mesmerizing and perfectly complements the visuals and tone of the film, with its strings and screechy sounds crossing into the realm of being sound effects at some points, and that's great because like the film, it brings together all senses and experiences into one odd package. Scarlett Johansson is intoxicating, doing so much with so little dialogue. She uses her eyes and facial expressions and callousness-turned-fake-charm so well, and you forget that you're watching an actress work because it's so immersive and shockingly realistic.

    I can see why some people would dislike this film because it is very alienating (no pun intended) and probably as far from mainstream as you can get, but it's also so engrossing. This is a film that gives no explanations and doesn't really have much of a setup that leads into a conflict that sets the movie into action in a traditional sense. It works wonderfully because the movie itself feeds off of our abilities - as humans - to interpret emotions and read other individuals. The movie even seems to be watching you back at times.

    Jonathan Glazer demonstrates that he has such a huge talent but also a great deal of discipline in order to make everything work. In the hands of another director, everything would have crumbled into pieces, but because it's so well-made, he makes connections between humanity and sexuality, objectification and death, and, to a certain extent, gender roles.

    The ending (without spoiling anything) both satisfies and leaves ample room for interpretation, and is very affecting. There is a good amount of emotion to this film, and it's just so commendable that a film like this could be so human and realistic. I can definitely see the comparisons to Kubrick (my favorite director ever) and I could compare this film to Eraserhead and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and partially to Eyes Wide Shut.

    This is a movie that I will never be able to forgot, and I know for a fact that I'll be thinking about it obsessively for a very long time. This may be one of my favorite films ever.

    9.7/10, masterful, two thumbs up, miles above average, etc.
    Full Review »