Under the Skin

The psychological connections between sex and death have rarely been so starkly — and so erotically — explored, nor so fearlessly portrayed as in Under the Skin. As Iris, a high-strung single woman who, in the wake of her mother’s death, tries to displace grief with a frenzy of casual sex, Samantha Morton (previously seen here only in British TV imports) gives a performance of astonishing power; she bursts into view with the kind of magnetism Emily Watson brought to Breaking the Waves. British writer-director Carine Adler understands that sex serves as language as well as urge, letting the body speak when words are blocked: Iris’ compulsion leads to a better relationship with her married, pregnant, stable sister (Claire Rushbrook), a healing that Adler establishes with particular sensitivity. Her strong feature debut is sometimes painful, but even at its most rawly intimate, it never cheats into exhibitionism or pride in its own daring. A

Under the Skin
  • Movie