“Under the Skin” (2014)

20 April 2014


Riveting. A woman prowls the streets of Glasgow in a white van, hunting for men. Gender roles are switched — she’s the predator, they the prey. She uses herbeauty, her seductiveness, to lure them.

At one point she tries out her line on a man standing near the driver’s side window, but he tries to attack her — and a crew of buddies spring out at her, too. She drives away unruffled.

You see, she’s not really a woman, even as she uses her womanliness to get them naked and erect.


I don’t have time to write a lot, lest I get bogged down and leave this in draft — I currently have 14 things in draft. Let me just say that this is worth every penny. I’m still not sure what to make of it. The arc of the story seems to take her from this womanly non-woman to a new, silent gender role; she no longer has the ammunition to be the person she becomes. Nor do we really know what she’s done with those hapless male victims along the way. But this beautifully creepy film and the blank, riveting Scarlett Johansson weave around a grim world in which they seem like only one tiny scary element.

I could say so much more, but not when I’m about to face the last week of the semester and finals and all the usual shit. Tell me what you think, though. Don’t expect to feel good, to fall in love with the protagonist, or to walk out having learned something, exactly … but you’ll want to talk.

2 Responses to ““Under the Skin” (2014)”

  1. Becky Says:

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I thought the novel was fabulous, so I will let you know. Have you read the novel? It was haunting, original, significant, I thought.

    • Didion Says:

      I haven’t read it — and from what I’ve heard, the film departs from the novel somewhat. But the story is sooooo interesting, and the visuals are so good….

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