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Skin I Live In

The Skin I Live In

4.5 2
Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes

Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In finds him joining forces with Antonio Banderas for the first time in over 20 years. Banderas plays Dr. Robert Ledgard, a plastic surgeon who has invented a type of fake skin that is more durable than real skin. But he achieves this breakthrough with the assistance of Vera (


Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In finds him joining forces with Antonio Banderas for the first time in over 20 years. Banderas plays Dr. Robert Ledgard, a plastic surgeon who has invented a type of fake skin that is more durable than real skin. But he achieves this breakthrough with the assistance of Vera (Elena Anaya), a young woman he's keeping locked up in his mansion. The only person who knows about this unusual arrangement is his maid, Marilia (Marisa Paredes). But his secret, as well as additional sins of the past he's desperate to keep hidden, bubble to the surface when Marila's criminal son shows up with a gun, forces his way into Vera's room, and attempts to rape her. The Skin I Live In played at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Spanish director Pedro Almodovar possesses the singular ability to mix melodrama with kink, and if nothing else, The Skin I Live In plays like the purest definition of his cinematic vision, even if it's nowhere close to being his best movie. The film stars Antonio Banderas as Dr. Robert Ledgard, a renowned plastic surgeon who has perfected a synthetic skin that is more durable than actual human flesh. At the same time, he's keeping a pretty young woman prisoner in his home. She has a room to herself, and a comfortable bed, and her meals are delivered on a dumbwaiter by Robert's loyal maid Marilia (Marisa Paredes), but she's always clad in a full bodysuit, and Robert keeps tabs on her through cameras he's installed in the room. Her behavior doesn't signal if she's being held against her will, and she attempts to have sex with him without any coercion on his part. However, it's still plainly obvious that Robert doesn't want anyone to know she is there, and he will not let her leave. His secret threatens to come out when Marilia's criminal son shows up and discovers the woman, leading to an attempted rape and a murder. It's best not to know too much about the plot before going to see The Skin I Live In, because the fun comes from how Almodovar methodically but playfully reveals how this situation came to be and what motivates these characters. There's a sensibility about the whole movie that's very close to noir: We may be through with the past, but the past is never through with us. Banderas was one of Almodovar's first muses -- he played a prominent role in a number of the Oscar winner's earliest international successes -- but this is the first time the duo have worked together in over 20 years. Luckily, Banderas continues to bring out Almodovar's most-outrageous impulses. You won't hear anyone coming out of this movie muttering, "we've seen that story before." But in a way, if you've kept up with Almodovar over the last three decades, you really have seen much of this movie before. Sure, the actual plot points are new, but the themes are quintessential Almodovar. His obsession with cross-dressing finds its seemingly natural conclusion in this film, and he continues to show how most men are slaves to their sexual desires, while most women are forever at the mercy of these unstable men. While it's undeniably gorgeous -- shot with a style that fuses Douglas Sirk and Alfred Hitchcock -- The Skin I Live In doesn't have the emotional pull of his best work. It lacks the emotional revelations of All About My Mother or the aching romanticism of Talk to Her. It takes a very long time to figure out whom, if anyone, we're supposed to care about in this story, and we end up feeling dissatisfied that there's no one to empathize with -- the hero's journey is so perverse that it's nearly impossible to embrace. For those who value Almodovar's fearlessness when it comes to tackling the most-outrageous subject matter, The Skin I Live In is proof that he still has a number of surprises left in him. But this time around, his plot feels too manipulative. He's finally come up with a scenario so bizarre that even his abundant humanism can't make it feel real.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

The making of the Skin I Live In; On the red carpet: New York premiere

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Antonio Banderas Robert Ledgard
Elena Anaya Vera
Marisa Paredes Marilia
Jan Cornet Vicente
Roberto Alamo Zeca
Eduard Fernández Fulgencio
Blanca Suárez Norma
Susi Sánchez Vicente's Mother
Barbara Lennie Cristina
Fernando Cayo Doctor
José Luis Gómez President of the Biotechnology Institute

Technical Credits
Pedro Almodóvar Director,Screenwriter
Jose Luis Alcaine Cinematographer
Agustín Almodóvar Producer
Paco Delgado Costumes/Costume Designer
Esther Garcia Producer
Antxon Gomez Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Pelayo Gutierrez Sound Editor
Alberto Iglesias Score Composer
Ivan Marin Sound/Sound Designer
Toni Novella Production Manager
Marc Orts Sound Mixer
Bárbara Peiró Associate Producer
José Salcedo Editor
Karmele Soler Makeup

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Skin I Live In
1. Chapter 1 [5:02]
2. Chapter 2 [8:44]
3. Chapter 3 [8:08]
4. Chapter 4 [5:47]
5. Chapter 5 [9:38]
6. Chapter 6 [8:39]
7. Chapter 7 [8:49]
8. Chapter 8 [6:27]
9. Chapter 9 [4:59]
10. Chapter 10 [7:51]
11. Chapter 11 [9:10]
12. Chapter 12 [4:18]
13. Chapter 13 [8:42]
14. Chapter 14 [8:29]
15. Chapter 15 [5:11]
16. Chapter 16 [10:11]


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The Skin I Live In 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
Pedro Almodóvar continues to craft an impressive cinematic career by paying the best type of homage to Alfred Hitchcock—without blatantly copying Hitchcock, Almodóvar appropriates his style, his tone, and his penchant for terrifying subject matter and translates these elements into original, contemporary stories that Hitchcock himself would have surely told if he were alive today and living in Spain. “The Skin I Live In” focuses on Robert Ledgard (played by Antonio Banderas in what is undoubtedly the most sophisticated performance of his career), a plastic surgeon who has endured more than his share of tragedy—an unfaithful wife who suffers a horribly disfiguring accident, a traumatized daughter unable to cope with her family’s misfortune and other indignities, and a childhood and family history of his own that is shrouded in mystery. As he himself slips into madness, Ledgard uses his skill as a surgeon to exact a most horrifying type of revenge on the man who seemingly damaged his daughter beyond repair—and then uses that revenge in a gruesome charade that satisfies his longing for the happiness that has long since left him. In telling this contemporary Gothic tale, Almodóvar tackles a number of grand themes—power, love, delusion, desire—in a way that exploits our preconceptions of gender and identity. “The Skin I Live In” is a unique film. If you’re already an Almodóvar fan, you’ll surely enjoy it. If you’re not, it will almost certainly turn you into one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago