Movie Review: The Skin I live In (2011)



Spanish director and writer, Pedro Almodóvar, always delivers something shocking in his films, or at least unexpected. His films not only have strong female characters, but also some are intertwined with gender issues. Perhaps you remember some of his more known works: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown(1988), Talk to Her(2002) , Bad Education(2004), Broken Embraces (2009) and his latest, I’m So Excited!(2013). 

The Skin I live In definitely was original and would stay in your memory for a long time. I think it was smart for the production company to include Hollywood A-List actors to boost sales in North America: Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz

Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is a famous surgeon and researcher. His research involves DNA engineering and skin cultivation. His obsession of developing skin in petri dish began after a car accident, where his wife received 80% burned to her body. Miraculously she recovered, but it was short-lived, she jumped to her death when she saw her disfigured face. Tragedy always ringed twice, when the mother jumped, she landed right in front of her daughter, Norma Ledgard(Blanca Suárez), who was playing with her toy cooking set in the garden.

Vicente(Jan Cornet) works at his mother second-hand clothing store, he does window displays and sometime makes dresses as well. A twenty something gets bored easy, he rides his motorbike in the middle of the day, and he likes to party and get high. 

At a party where Dr. Legard and Norman attend, she is standing across Vincente, smiling. A group of young people go into the garden, getting high, and start frolicking. Vincente and Norma are on their own, taking a stroll down a path with tall trees…

Dr. Legard is looking for her daughter, and he finds her lying on the ground fully dressed, but unconscious. He sees a guy running and leaving with a motorbike. He follows him in a van, and catches up…

Vincente is now kept hostage in a basement/dungeon, hands cuffed by steel chains, a water basin is beside him. At the same time, Norma is back to the psychiatrist hospital she was in before the party. Shortly after, her fate mirrors her mother’s.

Dr.Legard has his own operation theatre in his castle, he has private clients that visit him. Vincente is now on the table, a group of surgeons enter, and they start operating on him.

In the kitchen runs by the housemaid, Marilia(Marisa Paredes), two monitors are showing every movement of a woman, Vera Cruz(Elena Anaya), kept in a room. Dr. Legard also uses a monitor to see her, except his is 70-inch in full colour. You can tell he is in love with Vera. Is it because of her natural beauty? or because he creates such beauty?

Vincente’s mother is desperate to find his son.

The science looked impressive, especially the lab Dr.Legard worked in, and the procedures he ran, but to achieve what he had done, I don’t think it was possible, not even in 2014.

Banderas didn’t play to the stereotype of Dr. Frankenstein, instead he transformed Dr.Legard as caring, loving, and intelligent. Anaya’s Vera was perfect in every sense, pretty, emotional, and with a drop dead gorgeous body. The final scene is worth every minute of this film you spend watching.

WATCH…the ultimate revenge of, and punishment for, a woman abuser. Imagine how the world would change, if the science were achievable!




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