Under the Skin (1997)

 |  Drama  |  22 May 1998 (USA)
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Although married and pregnant Rose has always been Mother's favorite, it is younger sister Iris whose life is shaken up by Mother's death. Suffocating, Iris spirals out of control and copes... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rose Kelly
Rita Tushingham ...
Matthew Delamere ...
Clare Francis ...
Lisa Millett ...
Sylvia (as Lisa Millet)
John Whitehall ...
Man at station
Marie Jelliman ...
Michelle Byatt ...
Woman In Lost Property


Although married and pregnant Rose has always been Mother's favorite, it is younger sister Iris whose life is shaken up by Mother's death. Suffocating, Iris spirals out of control and copes by losing herself in sexual oblivion. She leaves her steady, Gary, for a steady stream of one night stands in the arms of mysterious strangers, alienating Gary, Rose, her friends, and her employers in the process. Will this go on until she loses everything that is meaningful to her? Written by Martin Lewison <lewison@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Your body betrays your soul.




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 May 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A flor de piel  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Samantha Morton's feature film debut. See more »


[first lines]
Iris Kelly: [voice-over] When I was small my mother was everything to me. I thought she was beautiful, and I wanted to be like her. I used to try and smile, walk and talk just like her; I even practiced laughing like she did. My mother loved flowers, and her favourite flowers were roses. And so she called my sister Rose. And she called me Iris.
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Written by Gilbert O'Sullivan
Performed by Samantha Morton
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User Reviews

"Heartrending piece of cinematic poetry..."
26 November 2010 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

Brazilian screenwriter and director Carine Adler's award-winning independent film, her directorial debut, contains distinct and naturalistic milieu depictions, sterling cinematography, impressive acting and tells a deeply emotional story about two sisters different reaction to losing their beloved mother. While one shares her sorrow with her family, the other one feels completely alone and walks into a world of sexual escapism.

This character-driven and fictional British film has a very experimental film style where sound, image, color, motion and atmosphere are key elements. With one of Liverpool's suburbs as a backdrop and with great compassion for her characters, Brazilian filmmaker Carine Adler examines grief's diverse effect on two working-class sisters. Her hand-held camera-movements, long takes and insistent use of close-ups creates distinctive realism, interesting perspectives and poetic moments, and the afflicting and far from sensual eroticism which is highly present in this internal psychological drama is effectuated by the fact that she tells the viewers more than she shows.

English actress Samantha Morton's involving voice-over narration drags the viewers into her consult seeking soul in a lyrical and fiercely honest way. Her debut feature film role is a bare-skinned interpretation of a character that is comparative to Emily Watson's title role in Lars Von Trier's "Breaking the Waves" (1996), radiates the potential she has maintained in films such as Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown" (1999) and Jim Sheridan's "In America" (2002). "Under the Skin" is a melancholic study of character which due to it's sarcastic humor avoids falling into the dark deep. Large parts of the film plays out inside the mind of the protagonist and Samantha Morton's philosophical monologue is like an unreachable poem in this heartrending piece of cinematic poetry from the late 1990s.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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