Feature

The Skin I Live In

Pedro Almodóvar examines the relationship between a widowed plastic surgeon and a young woman whom he is holding captive and treating with synthetic skin.

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
(R)

***

Pedro Almodóvar’s “hypnotic new film” puts his distinctive stamp on the Frankenstein myth, said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. Antonio Banderas plays a widowed plastic surgeon who has developed a new synthetic skin and is holding a beautiful young woman captive. He calls her his patient, which is chilling enough. But “every time you think you know what the movie is up to, it takes an astonishing new turn.” The Skin I Live In is “most exciting at its most disorienting, mired in a dream-like state of confusion that Almodóvar produces masterfully,” said Karina Longworth in The Village Voice. It “deflates in its final third,” when “dumb explanatory psychology” and “bursts of intentional camp” fill in the plot’s mysteries too neatly and nearly cancel the story’s early promise. Yet the relationship between doctor and patient is so deeply bizarre that such convolutions feel fitting, said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. Their connection is a “Pandora’s box” of buried desires, and Banderas is particularly effective: His uncompromisingly dark turn “burrows under the skin.”

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