The Skin I Live In [La piel que habito] (2011)

Starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Roberto Álamo, Eduard Fernández, José Luis Gómez, Blanca Suárez

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar

Expectations: High. A new Almodóvar is cause for celebration.

Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In is easily my most anticipated film of the year, and now that I’ve seen it I simply stare at the blank computer screen and wonder what to write about it. There are times when writing about film is fun, and then there are others when it seems like work. And then there are times like this, when I find myself unable to pull together enough coherent thoughts to constitute a proper review. It’s not because I don’t know how I feel about the film, it’s more of a general feeling of impressed awe at how much command Almodóvar has over film and his audiences. I don’t care to discuss specifics or to dissect the scenes, and this is where I have a problem trying to write about movies like this. Almodóvar creates films that embody everything I feel is vital for a quality film, perfectly balancing artfulness and heady ideals with a deeply intoxicating, entertaining nature. This is the fourth film I’ve seen of his, and it is the fourth film of his that I’ve loved.

To describe any of the plot would betray much too much about the story. If you’ve never seen any Almodóvar, I’m unsure that this is the place to jump on, but I suppose it would be as good as any other. For the record, the first film I saw was Volver, a truly magical piece of cinema. The Skin I Live In is unique in its feel and its look among the Almodóvar films I’ve seen, and while you could say that about all of them, this one stands out completely. Antonio Banderas returns to work with Almodóvar after a twenty-one year gap and he plays his role flawlessly. This is perhaps the best I’ve ever seen him, encompassing the cold, suave nature of his character and the range of emotions necessary to carry every plot twist the film contains.

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