Skin (2009) Movie Reviews

Skin (2009)

Skin (2009)

Release Date: Oct 30, 2009

Genre: Drama

Rating: (PG-13)

Movie Reviews

User reviews on Skin (2009)

  • 4
    The absurd but inexorable logic of apartheid is laid out with considerable emotional impact in "Skin." Based on a true story, the film follows the difficult life of Sandra Laing, born in the mid-1950s with skin color and features that would make her black in the eyes of the law, except that her parents are both white. As a genetic researcher later admits in front of an embarrassed courtroom, most Afrikaner settlers have African blood. The law makes clumsy attempts to cope with the situation—Sandra is at first termed white because of her parentage, then colored by her appearance, then white again. The whiplash affects her whole life, tearing at the fabric of her family, poisoning her relationships and thrusting her into poverty. This is a grim chronicle leavened by some fine acting. Young Sandra is played by the very appealing, wide-eyed young first-timer Ella Ramangwane. Sophie Okonedo takes over as the grown-up Sandra, valiantly trying to find a way to cope with personal and societal upheaval. Alice Krige is touching as Sandra's mother, but the real surprise is Sam Neill, who gives a subtle, wound-up performance as her father. Abraham Laing's love for his daughter is deep and strong; in the early scenes, he sticks up for her with admirable courage. But eventually, tragically, he too is driven to near madness by the artificially enforced divisions that ruled South Africa for so many decades. At times, director Anthony Fabian is guilty of laying on the blows of apartheid with too heavy a hand, but the film earns its tearful, haltingly hopeful conclusion. (Michael S. Gant from

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