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Skin Deep movie review & film summary (2024)


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

Alex Schaad’s feature debut “Skin Deep” is a stripped-down sci-fi drama that takes its time to explore the social and romantic ramifications of its simple premise. Body swapping movies are generally about giving the protagonist(s) a different perspective, offering them the chance to grow in the process. In “Freaky Friday,” a mother and daughter swap bodies to show the challenges each of them face at that age. “Heaven Can Wait” gives an ex-football star a new lease on life with newfound appreciation. The anime “Your Name” perhaps gets closest to the concept of “Skin Deep” when two high school students who have never met begin to body swap and decide to act on their newfound connection by meeting each other in person. In “Skin Deep,” the process offers Leyla a chance to feel something different, and in essence, renew her sense of self and her relationship with Tristen—if only he can accept her new form.

Co-written by Schaad and his brother Dimitrij, “Skin Deep” takes a few cues from Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster,” but with a somber tone, really digging into the unintended consequences of the procedure. By the luck of the draw, Tristen and Leyla swap with another troubled couple, Fabienne (Maryam Zaree) and Mo (Dimitrij Schaad), who make Tristen so uncomfortable, he aborts the body swap before talking with Leyla, which devastates her. This in turn leads Leyla to swap with another man on the island while Tristen remains the same, bringing up other uncomfortable feelings and conversation. For Leyla, this is a form of liberation, for Tristen, it becomes the question of whether he still loves Leyla in any form she takes on. “Imagine how connected a couple must be if each one truly understands how the other one feels,” Leyla tells Tristen, both marveling at another couple’s connection and wishing it was hers as well.  

I followed Schaad’s film and the highs and lows of Leyla’s quest to find her new self, but one detail felt less thoughtfully considered than the rest of the narrative. The man who offers to swap bodies with Leyla, Roman (Thomas Wodianka), is grieving the loss of his partner and agrees to help her so at least one of them can be happy. The new body reignites all the joys and passions within her that had laid dormant, but when it comes time to body swap and leave the island, Leyla doesn’t want to, bringing up ethical dilemmas of body swapping with someone who might not be ready for its effects or keeping another’s body without consent that’s never quite addressed. The issue is dealt with quickly, but it feels so rushed in comparison to everything before it. 

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by Xtreme HD IPTV

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