Sunday, August 21, 2011

Skin.................It's Not What You Think


I watched this a couple days ago and came right here to post my review.  I added the picture and the tags.  I found some pictures of the really Sandy and read this interesting article.  Then, just as I was starting,  I was stuck.  Too many thoughts in my head put them down in single file, letter by letter.  Too many questions. 

Skin is the based on a real life tale of Sandy Laing.  Sandy was born in South Africa in the early 1960s to parents who were part of the political party responsible for Apartheid.  As far as her parents knew, they had no African ancestors, yet their daughter was born with black attributes.  He parents loved her, and raised her as a white girl, and even fought legally to have her remain classified as white.  They remained steadfast against accusations of accused immorality on the part of Mrs. Laing and claimed her 100% as their own.  They were also completely blind to the difficulties faced by their daughter for the way she looked.  You can't help both loving her parents and wanting to knock their heads against the wall.

What To Know Before Watching

1) If you are anything like me, you will be curious about what the real family looks like.  I have posted the movie family (above) and the real family (below) so that you won't have to pause for a Google. The casting of they younger Sandy is particularly good.

2)While they did clean up the story a bit, it appears that they did it at least in part, for the sake of brevity.   This movie is real life enough that it doesn't all fit into a nice little package.  The ending is good but not perfect. 

3) To the right is a more recent picture of Sandy and her mother.  Her mother has since passed away.

4) The actress who plays the older Sandy is Sophie Okonedo.  I reviewed another of her works, The Secret Life of Bees, here.  I really liked her in Bees but I have mixed feeling about her work in Skin.  At times I found it brilliant and at other times stilted.  Though she is appears to be a young woman, it seemed to me that she was more comfortable playing Sandy as on older woman.  I found that both odd and intriguing. 

5) The most interesting thing about this film is what it has to say about race.  It reminded me of  a Nova article I read a couple years ago discussing the existence, or lack thereof, race. But even in light of all this theory, it is where ideas meet the lives of real people that things get interesting.  And messy.

6) Here is what Common Sense Media has to say about the kiddos.  It says 15 but would let my mature13 year old watch it.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing

Four Stars- I really liked it.



  1. The trailer brought tears to my eyes. Fascinating and heart breaking and lovely!

    And it just reminds me of all the other artificial exterior qualities that we allow to divide us.

  2. Susan- This is one case where I really thought the trailer did not do the movie justice. Watch it and tell me what you think when you get a chance.

  3. I'm so excited that this is on Netflix instant watch... can't wait to watch it.

  4. Jamie- Let me know what you think when you finish.

  5. Will do. I'm really hoping to get to it tonight or tomorrow.

  6. Okay, Kelly, so I finally watched the movie last night. I really liked it, even though parts of it were difficult to watch. I found it chilling and really sad when Sandra's dad was dying and wanted to see her, and Sandra's mom ultimately looked at him and said "you made your choice"... something he had said about Sandra's decision years earlier.

    I found that I didn't really like the younger Sandra. She seemed uncomfortable in that role or something and did seem much more fit to play the older Sandra.

    Overall, a good movie. I'm glad I watched it. :)

  7. Jamie- Sorry to be so long to comment. I took the discomfort for being shy but I can certainly see why you took it the way you did!

  8. What broke my heart & left me wondering was the end when it said her brothers disowned her. How sad!