145 user 407 critic

The Skin I Live In (2011)

La piel que habito (original title)
2:11 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.



(collaboration), | 1 more credit »
1,912 ( 346)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 26 wins & 64 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Talk to Her (2002)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two men share an odd friendship while they care for two women who are both in deep comas.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Rosario Flores, Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti
Volver I (2006)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After her death, a mother returns to her home town in order to fix the situations she couldn't resolve during her life.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Young Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his father, carefully concealed by his mother Manuela.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Candela Peña
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Harry Caine, a blind writer, reaches this moment in time when he has to heal his wounds from 14 years back. He was then still known by his real name, Mateo Blanco, and directing his last movie.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Penélope Cruz, Lluís Homar, Blanca Portillo
Bad Education (2004)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An examination on the effect of Franco-era religious schooling and sexual abuse on the lives of two longtime friends.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Gael García Bernal, Fele Martínez, Javier Cámara
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Pepas's lover, Iván, leaves her and she tries to contact him to find out why he's left. In her search for Iván, she confronts his wife and son, who are as clueless as she is. Meanwhile; ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

When it appears as though the end is in sight, the pilots, flight crew, and passengers of a plane heading to Mexico City look to forget the anguish of the moment and face the greatest danger, which we carry within ourselves.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Javier Cámara, Pepa Charro, Cecilia Roth
Live Flesh (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After leaving jail, Víctor is still in love with Elena, but she's married to the former cop -now basketball player- who became paralysed by a shot from Víctor's gun...

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Liberto Rabal, Francesca Neri, Javier Bardem
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An unbalanced but alluring former mental patient takes a porn star prisoner in the hopes of convincing her to marry him.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Victoria Abril, Antonio Banderas, Loles León
High Heels (1991)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A girl's mother returns after 15 years to find her daughter has married one of her (the mother's) old boyfriends. They try to mend their broken mother/daughter relationship and deal with ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Victoria Abril, Marisa Paredes, Miguel Bosé
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Leo Macias writes sentimental novels with great success but hidden under a pseudonym, Amanda Gris. She is unhappy with her professional life and with her husband, a soldier working in ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Marisa Paredes, Juan Echanove, Carme Elias
Julieta (2016)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After a casual encounter, a brokenhearted woman decides to confront her life and the most important events about her stranded daughter.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Stars: Adriana Ugarte, Michelle Jenner, Rossy de Palma


Cast overview, first billed only:
Presidente del Instituto de Biotecnología
Norma Ledgard
Susi Sánchez ...
Madre de Vicente
Chema Ruiz ...
Buika ...
Cantante (as Concha Buika)
Ana Mena ...
Norma joven
Teresa Manresa ...
Casilda Efraiz


In honor of his late wife who died in a flaming car accident, scientist, Dr. Robert Ledgard, is trying to synthesize the perfect skin which can withstand burns, cuts or any other kind of damage. As he gets closer to perfecting this skin on his flawless patient, the scientific community starts growing skeptical and his past is revealed that shows how his patient is closely linked to tragic events he would like to forget. Written by napierslogs

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content including sexual assault, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 September 2011 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Koža u kojoj živim  »

Box Office


$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$223,119 (USA) (14 October 2011)


$3,185,193 (USA) (23 March 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After a few days of shooting, Pedro Almodóvar had a conversation with Antonio Banderas in which he told Banderas that he needed to drop all of his ticks as an actor, because the director wanted a really restrained character and the actor was playing him in a more typical psycho way. See more »


When Doctor Robert Ledgard and his colleague are preparing themselves for the surgery they wear sterile gloves and then tie each other clothes from the back, that is considered non sterile, so they will contaminate the surgery. See more »


[first lines]
Marilia: [to servant] Help me with the dumbwaiter.
See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Cannes Film Festival 2011 (2011) See more »


Se me hizo fácil
Written by Agustín Lara
Produced by Javier Limón
Performed by Buika (as Concha Buika)
© Promotora Hispano Americana de Musica.
Austorizado por Peermusic Espanola, S.A.U.
Piano: Iván González Lewis (as Iván 'Melón' Lewis)
Bateria y percusion: Fernando Favier
Contrabajo: Dani Noel
Trompeta: Carlitos Sarduy
Saxo tenor: Inoidel
Trombon: Joulien Ferrer
Caros:Dany Noel (as Dani Noel)
Grabado en Casa Limon
Concha Buika es arista de Warner Music Spain.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A full-on masterpiece.
10 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Pedro Almodovar has created a daring and entirely unique masterpiece, a word that I do not use lightly or often. The Skin I Live In has a lot that of aspects that feel very Almodovar, but there's also a lot of Cronenberg here as well, and with the latter being my favorite director it's no surprise that I fell in love with it quickly. The film is a startling, wild study into a world of obsession, revenge and the complexities of the human flesh. Almodovar has really outdone himself here, crafting a tale of wicked intensity and rarely met eccentricity.

The structure here is one of it's more interesting aspects and yet another film this year that isn't told in a strictly linear fashion. We first meet Doctor Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) in the present day, as he works tirelessly on perfecting a new skin for his subject, the young and beautiful Vera (Elena Anaya). Almodovar establishes us in this present day world, complete with a very Almodovar subplot (a man in a tiger suit comes to the house and brings some trouble) and a lot of baggage for Ledgard. We get to know these people, become intrigued by what brought them to their current state and that we jump back six years to explore this character further.

It's a surprising jump and I must admit that it got me off guard at first, but as we spend more and more time in the past building up to the present I slowly came to terms with what Almodovar was doing. He gave us a stake in the present day world so that when he took us into the past it becomes about more than just laying out the facts. We already have a perception on Ledgard and a curiosity into understanding the events that bring him to where we met him, so the film becomes as much of a fascinating game of putting these puzzle pieces together as it is a character study and all-around masterwork of high drama.

Slowly the pieces start to come together and I found myself constantly trying to figure out what happened in this world, how these events in the past connect to the present day we were introduced to. When we finally get our answer...stunned...amazed...jaw-unhinged...none of these words can even begin to describe what happened to my mind. This is a twist that doesn't exist for shock value by any means but absolutely sent me to the floor, one of the most shocking and unexpected moves in cinema history as far as I'm concerned. It threw me for a major loop and everything I had come to perceive about these characters and their world was altered in an instant. Everything became a thousand times more fascinating and complex with the use of one simple word.

As I said before, this is a piece of the most miraculous and bold high-drama, a world where anything is possible but nothing feels out of place. That is perhaps the most shocking aspect of the film itself, that Almodovar gives us a story filled to the brim with melodrama but none of it feels contrived or too weird or too much. Everything feels totally natural and believable in the world that Almodovar establishes for us. His ability to make this happen is nothing short of extraordinary. Of course he doesn't do it alone and there are a lot of other aspects to the film that contribute to making it work on every conceivable level, to bring us into this incredible world.

Of course there are the performances, which are just a dream on their own. I've never been a fan of Antonio Banderas and I've honestly been hesitant to watch films just based on his involvement, but he delivers something here that I never knew he was capable of. Ledgard is an incredibly difficult character to pull off because our perception of him changes drastically throughout the film, but Banderas masters it without a single hitch. There was never a false move, never a moment where I didn't believe this character was capable of doing what he was doing. He is charming, intelligent, deranged and intimidating, unfolding layer after layer as we go on. It's a remarkable achievement in both character and performance. The other performances work very well to support Banderas and Almodovar's work here, particularly from the absolutely gorgeous Elena Anaya. She is all things sympathetic, manic, intriguing and sensual and when we come back to the present day after understanding what brought her to this place, she takes on a whole new life of internal chaos and complexity. For all of her outward expression it becomes a very internal performance and she is sensational here.

The technical aspects are all on key, all of them impressing without taking the spotlight away from the story, but the one thing that really left a mark was the phenomenal score. If it wasn't for Hanna, this score would be a runaway victory for my personal win right now. Rarely have I seen music so well-utilized for the atmosphere a director strives to establish. The high-wire drama meets it's ally with this music, a soaring operatic work that brings us into this world so completely. It swept me away and completely engulfed me in this world that Almodovar established. The score is a perfect fit for the film because it captures exactly what the overall product is; a brilliant and original opera of miraculous proportions. This is one of those films that I wasn't expecting a lot from and it just blew me away at every level.

65 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
How are some arguing that Vicente didn't rape Norma? Aborawatabinost
Who else thinks Zeco wasn't needed? Morgendorffer
One of the sickest movies I ever saw... futureknight-1
Vincente was 'in the closet', anyway. blissinuk
Horror? altimazo
Discuss The Skin I Live In (2011) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: