Under the Skin

Bomb Rating: 

Film has probably done more than any other medium in perpetuating the notion that women are emotionally unstable. Ironically, independent cinema may be even more responsible than mainstream film when it comes to transforming female characters into but differing angles on the same quivering, irrational, blithering stereotype.

This is because the operative cliché in independent cinema these days is crisis, and for women, it's usually an identity crisis. In "Under the Skin," writer/director Carine Adler sends Iris (Samantha Morton) on a journey of self-discovery that mainly involves dressing up like a whore and screwing every disgusting guy she can find.

Poor Iris is only 19 and doesn't know who she is. She's defined herself by her relationship with her mother (Rita Tushingham) and sister, Rose (Claire Rushbrook). She's the younger, less perfect sister, and resents Rose for being Mother's favorite. Mum solves half of the problem by getting cancer and taking a dirt nap, but instead taking the opportunity to punch her annoying, pregnant sister in the face and skipping town for a new life, Iris puts on Mom's old wig, hides her ashes and plays hide the salami with many of the city's less-than-alpha males.

During one of her encounters, young Iris gets an embarrassing golden shower, an event that compels her to reconcile with Rose and rediscover the joys of sisterhood. Well, you know, just about anything is better than getting peed on. Generally speaking, while getting peed on, one is likely to spend one's time under the stream considering that one's previous problems probably weren't so bad after all. This is basically what Iris discovers. This is essentially the film's sole creative revelation.

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