The Skin I Live In (2011)

Original Title

La piel que habito


Drama | Thriller


Pedro Almodóvar




Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Roberto Álamo, Blanca Suárez, Susi Sánchez, Bárbara Lennie, Eduard Fernández, Concha Buika


Dr. Roberto Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) tries to create a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage and his guinea pig is a mysterious and volatile woman (Elena Anaya) who holds the key to his obsession.


If there is something we can all agree about is that Pedro Almodóvar has a unique style and one either loves or hates him. He explores subjects many may fear, and with "The Skin I Live In" he makes no difference. The film indeed is an unsettling, disturbing yet delightful combination of drama, thriller and body horror. If I had to summarize it in a few words I'd say it is beautifully horrifying.

Trying not to give away much of it because the less you know about it before watching it, the more intense the experience will be, the story is a stroke of genius. The plot not only moves on several timeframes thus being non-linear, but it is also told through the eyes of different characters that allows the viewer to have feelings for some of them.

The film flows perfectly, and, in a succession of ambiguity, anguish, horror and gore, the Spanish director assembles each piace of the plot with such a surgical precision, it ends up being a fascinating puzzle.

Spoiler alert, "The Skin I Live In" is a successful change of genre that explores the theme of sexual identity and what it is like to live in a body that you don't recognize as your own arguably in the best way ever. It also explores the nature and the violation of moral code, and some of Almodóvar's typical themes such as love, the relationship between man and woman and the past still lived as it was the present.

Even though I've never been a fan of him, it's good to see Antonio Banderas working with Almodóvar again, and he delivers a wonderful performance. Frankly, I didn't think he was capable to pull off such a complex and difficult character. However, Elena Anaya completely steals the show as Vera, the mysterious woman held captive by Bander's character. Her eyes are so expressive and emotional, she doesn't even need to talk.


  1. I liked this, but someone had spoiled the ending for me beforehand and I watched the entire thing wondering if I would've guessed it or not. That kind of bummed me out.

  2. "The film indeed is an unsettling, disturbing yet delightful combination of drama, thriller and body horror." This sentence said it all. I was totally blown away by this film. To Brit's point of having the surprise ruined, the twist happens well before the end and I eventually guessed it, but that didn't hinder my enjoyment. It's that final scene that's the kicker for me. It's a powerful moment for a variety of reasons.