Movie Review: Under The Skin

Source: Wikipedia.

Source: Wikipedia.

I decided to try Under the Skin because it was Science Fiction and starring Scarlett Johansson. I have no idea how I sat through the entire movie. I have never been into “artsy” movies and this one comforted me in this inclination. I don’t mind a contemplative aspect to some narratives, like Kubrick’s 2001, A Space Odyssey (which is about the only Kubrick I like) or The Double Life of Veronique by Kieslowski. Yet, this one just bored me and I found it extremely creepy.

I couldn’t stand the main musical theme. It gave me goosebumps in a bad way. I found it irritating and it sounded like an audio gimmick more than anything else. Johansson was great as this visiting alien and on a side note. She looks so different as a brunette. One thing that puzzled me which had nothing to do with the narrative, was how grateful I was to watch it with subtitles. While no native English speaker, I am normally comfortable with many different accents, but I had a hard time understanding quite a few people in this movie. It was confusing as I’m not used to this at all!

The movie is R-rated for the nudity and sexual content. I don’t see what the nudity gives to the narrative at all. It just feels voyeuristic. One could say that most nudity is male and that it is thus different from how women’ bodies are so often objectified. Yet, women’s bodies could perfectly not being objectified anymore without having to toss gratuitous male nudity. The two aren’t necessarily related. The female body is just as objectified and showed as “other” in this movie as it is in mainstream media. I have nothing against intimate/sexual aspects in  plot lines, but most of the movie seems to revolve around it, and I dare to believe there is more to humanity than sex.

She almost has no interaction with other women, save for the bunch who drags her to the club. This is also a rather disappointing aspect of the narrative.

The way the alien explores her humanity seems very narrow-minded as she spends most of the movie as a seductress who preys on men, thus embodying the trope of the temptress. I feel that she could have tried to find herself differently, or maybe this was all she understood from our human Western media, which might also be a possibility and would be even more depressing. The way she explores more of herself, her possible human kind with the man who is nice to her is so cliché as well, as if she was a damsel in distress waiting for prince charming or the first who might resemble the concept that she finds. When the female lead gets worried when she can’t have intercourse and runs to look at her genitals as if something was wrong, it was disheartening as well. The female body seems to be “alien” even more than the actual one. Having her face a male sexual predator at the end of the movie didn’t improve the so called ‘self discovery’ journey and I don’t see how encountering this could make the alien understand her own possible humanity better. After being sexually assaulted for the second time, the main character removes her human skin and looks at her human face (which still blinks eyes in a disturbing way) and is killed by her attacker who returned to burn her alive, making this violence sexist and racist (as he got scared when tearing apart some of her human skin and seeing the other underneath).

I saw reviews saying that you’ll either love or hate Under The Skin. I really don’t plan to watch it again. One viewing was more than enough and I am not planning to include this in my current or future research and writing projects. I don’t recommend this movie at all, and finds it horribly misogynistic.

8 thoughts on “Movie Review: Under The Skin

  1. That Moment In

    I’m still on the plus side of this film. I found it intriguing and thoughtful enough that it had me asking a lot of questions. Still, you write a good review and your points are valid. It actually make me want to see it again! Ha. Nice post.

    Like

    Reply
  2. jonathanmills95

    By all accounts the original novel, by Michel Faber, is very different, and actually sounds much more interesting than the film, which I thought was fascinating as a work of art, but ultimately very flawed. Can’t quite get it out of my head though.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      I am not familiar with the original novel, so I could only comment on the movie. I find it interesting that this movie seems to provoke “love it or hate it” kinds of reactions, though at least I sat through the entire movie to form my opinion. Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Matt Cipolla

    *MAJOR SPOILERS* It’s not misogynstic. The film includes social commentary regarding gender roles within society and Scarlett’s character is basically designed to be objectified in order to demonstrate a parallel between sexual objectication/assault and loss of humanity. The voids scenes are like an attempt to convey rape to a male audience, but the film isn’t about sex, it’s about what makes us human: our perception of beauty, sympathy for others, moral conflict, isolation from society, death, and more. It even has a sort of meta quality considering how Johansson’s character almost mirrors how some men perceive her in real life (as a total “sex goddess” or stuff along those lines). My full analysis: http://carpetonion.tumblr.com/post/86163171035/under-the-skin-analysis-major-spoilers

    Like

    Reply
    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      I read your full and detailed analysis, which I can’t agree with. For what I’ve read, people do have different and rather strong opinions about this movie, which is only natural as we all perceive things differently.

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s