The Skin I Live in

Rated 4.0

A plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas) engages in forbidden experiments to create an artificial skin, which he applies to a patient that he keeps as a prisoner (Elena Anaya), and whom he is molding into the image of his dead wife. And that’s just the beginning; before writer-director Pedro Almodóvar (adapting a novel by Thierry Jonquet) is done, the story embroils the surgeon’s housekeeper (Marisa Paredes), his daughter (Blanca Suárez), the housekeeper’s fugitive son (Roberto Álamo) and a young druggie on the make (Jan Cornet). On one level, it’s a mad-scientist horror film, but of course, this being Almodóvar, there are more levels than that. The movie’s elegant design—structurally and visually—is its main pleasure, with Almodóvar unveiling his plot gradually, in revealed bits and flashbacked pieces.