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The Skin I Live In(La piel que habito)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Spain

2011

Rated R • 2h 0m

Director Pedro Almodóvar

Starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet

Genre Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

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Dr. Robert Ledgard's wife Vera was badly injured in an auto accident. He begins to focus his research on developing a synthetic skin that could help burn victims like his wife. After over a decade, the doctor develops a skin that protects the body but is also sensitive to touch. With the help of his housekeeper, Ledgard tests his creation on Vera as she is kept in his home against her will.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

50

Village Voice by

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.
63

Slant Magazine by Ed Gonzalez

This is a beautiful vision, but in telling too many flowery secrets, it's also one that unnecessarily keeps its queerness in the closet.
60

Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

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.
60

Variety by Justin Chang

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.
50

The Hollywood Reporter by Kirk Honeycutt

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.
75

The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

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.
88

Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

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.
50

Observer by Rex Reed

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.
70

Time by Richard Corliss

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.

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