Skin of Man, Heart of Beast

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 15

Audience Score

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Movie Info

In this disturbing French drama, a family welcomes a long-lost loved one into their home only to discover that he behaves like a stranger. Fifteen years ago, a man named Coco (Bernard Blancan) disappeared without warning. One day, he returns to his family home, telling his mother Marthe (Maaike Jansen) that he joined the Foreign Legion. While no one at home -- mother Marthe, younger brother Alex (Pascal Cervo), older brother Francky (Serge Riaboukine), and Francky's two daughters, teenage Christelle (Virginie Guinand) and five-year-old Aurelie (Cathy Hinderchied) -- is sure if they believe Coco's story, they're glad to see that he's finally returned home in one piece. However, Coco isn't quite the same as he once was; he suffers from dramatic mood swings, and he doesn't seem to trust those around him. While Christelle, who never knew Coco, resents his presence around the house and finds his moods disturbing, Aurelie displays a child's trust of this oddly vulnerable stranger, and they become close. However, the longer Coco stays with the family, the more obvious his emotional disturbance becomes, which in time leads to rough sexual encounters with prostitutes and sudden acts of shocking violence. Peau d'Homme, Coeur de Bete was shown in competition at the 1999 Locarno Film Festival.


Critic Reviews for Skin of Man, Heart of Beast

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (6)

  • A simmering psychological drama in which the bursts of sudden violence are all the more startling for the slow buildup that has preceded them.

    Jul 16, 2002
  • The all-French cast is marveilleux.

    Jun 21, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/4

    Jan Stuart

    Top Critic
  • Leaves you with a knot in your stomach, its power is undercut by its own head-banging obviousness.

    Jun 21, 2002 | Rating: 2/5
  • Skin Of Man gets a few cheap shocks from its kids-in-peril theatrics, but it also taps into the primal fears of young people trying to cope with the mysterious and brutal nature of adults.

    Jun 20, 2002

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Angel presents events partly from the perspective of Aurelie and Christelle, and infuses the film with the sensibility of a particularly nightmarish fairytale.

    Jun 20, 2002 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Tom Dawson
    Top Critic
  • French director Hélène Angel's sensitive and crystalline debut feature.

    Jun 19, 2002 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Skin of Man, Heart of Beast

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