The Skin I Live In

2011

The Skin I Live In

Critics Consensus

The Skin I Live In lacks Almodovar's famously charged romance, replaced with a wonderfully bizarre and unpredictable detour into arthouse ick.

81%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 175

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 27,007
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Movie Info

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...-- (C) Sony

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Critic Reviews for The Skin I Live In

All Critics (175) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (141) | Rotten (34)

  • The Skin I Live In is well worth seeing. Mad scientists overwhelmed by hubris are nothing new but no iteration of the story has been told in quite this way.

    Dec 20, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Few filmmakers are more assured or alluring, even when we fear we're following a monster.

    Nov 23, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • There are few filmmakers -- David Lynch comes to mind, Woody Allen -- who have a completely unique way of imprinting a film. Nobody but Pedro Almodóvar could have made The Skin I Live In. And that's high compliment.

    Nov 18, 2011 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • These are questions one is left with -- and that's not an entirely satisfying feeling. Yet it's hard not to be drawn into the story, and even more, into the gorgeous storytelling.

    Nov 4, 2011 | Rating: 3/4
  • Despite its scalpel-like precision, pic falls short of its titular promise, never quite getting under the skin as it should.

    Nov 3, 2011 | Full Review…

    Justin Chang

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Only someone as talented as Almodóvar could have mixed such elements without blowing up an entire movie.

    Nov 3, 2011 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Skin I Live In

  • Jul 16, 2019
    Unnerving yet engrossing, The Skin I Live In is a subtle thriller with a satisfyingly-developed twist. Its chic set design appears to pay homage to Kubrick's similarly uncomfortable A Clockwork Orange.
    Matthew Samuel M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2014
    Extending some evident influence from Georges Franju's Les yeux sans visage (1960) to a disturbing psychosexual realm, Almodóvar constructs a classy horror tale of truly horrifying proportions that has shocked audiences worldwide. He achieves this by drawing the thin line between obsession and insanity, between the male and the female body, between perceptions and concepts, capturing every frame with respectable artistry. Was drawing the line enough? No. As the bold director he was especially in the 80s, he crosses it like he used to do in the past! And that's the point, people, where things start to get interesting. The classical score elevates tension of the melodrama and about the absolute tragedies that unfold in front of our eyes. He has not lost his trademark styles; leaving clichéd dramas and comedies aside (perhaps temporarily?), eroticism becomes a weapon in the artist's palette, assaulting the senses and challenging us to leave the theater. How ironic, isn't it? Before the horror develops, the screenplay discreetly throws a criticism towards our ethical standards: Bioethics supposedly condemns human transgenesis (even if it is proven that pig cells are strikingly similar and even superior to our own in some biological aspects) but we are happily self-proclaimed as omnivore beings. Brilliant aspect that makes you think about the foundation of your own ethics. Almodóvar never takes a side, however. He captures the talents of the novel while letting our minds decide, once that our stomach has "digested" this aggressive beast. This is one of his finest films. Watching him return to his glorious days 25 years ago restores my faith in him. 89/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 03, 2013
    Even with Robert Ledgard(Antonio Banderas) being a super-renowned plastic surgeon, he is still not allowed to experiment on humans, swearing up and down to the institute president(Jose Luis Gomez) that he has not been doing so. Except he is lying. The good news, ethics aside, is he has been very successful with Vera(Elena Anaya), kept in isolation at his villa, even as she makes it painfully clear how much she disagrees with that assessment. Marilia(Marisa Paredes) warns him that he will either eventually have to kill her or free her. And that's before Zeca(Roberto Alamo) shows up in a tiger suit... As much as I am a fan of Pedro Almodovar, it is on a sad note that his latest film "The Skin I Live In" comes as something of a disappointment, even as it heralds back to his earlier provocations, with characters being violated in more than one way. But that coupled with the director's recent formalism results in a strangely vapid concoction that has more to do with "Vertigo" than "Eyes without a Face." Some of that comes down to the movie's flashback structure, including a circling back to a key incident which changes nothing, that assumes we have any interest in who Vera and Robert are/were. And Marilia's revelations about Robert's family history are irrelevant considering anybody could have snapped after all he had been through. What would have worked much better is if "The Skin I Live In" had been told in a straightforward fashion, allowing the tension and unease to build naturally in a what-is-this-sick-bastard-going-to-come-up-with-next sort of way.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2013
    A very enjoyable surreal drama/arthouse horror movie with some pretty creepy twists, The Skin I Live In is undoubtedly very strange, but its strangeness is what makes it so great. The movie is not always easy to watch, and has a number of rape scenes (one of which involving a man dressed as a tiger no less) and the story is a freakishly twisted take on Frankenstein. The movie is about a plastic surgeon who, after his wife burns to death in a car crash, decides to use genetic engineering to create the perfect skin that is impervious to burns, bug bites, and various other harms. To do this he uses a human test subject named Vera, who is kept locked away in his lavish mansion and under constant surveillance. It gradually becomes even weirder until it reaches a most unusual (and unexpected) plot twist late into the movie. The entire movie is jam-packed with sex, violence, and a whole lot of soapy melodrama, making it very campy at times even though much of what takes place in the story is actually pretty dark. The Skin I Live In is not the kind of movie that can be easily recommended, simply because not everyone is into this sort of Jodorowsky/Lynch type of melodramatic weirdness. For those who thrive on the bizarre and twisted, The Skin I Live In is definitely worth seeing.
    Joey S Super Reviewer

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