04th Nov2020

Raindance Festival 2020: ‘Under My Skin’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Liv Hewson, Alex Russell, Bobbi Salvör Menuez, Alexis Denisof, Chloe Freeman | Written and Directed by David O’Donnell

If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we need to be happy with ourselves and the life we live in. We live in a time when we have full choice of the life we lead, and in the end why should people stand in our way? Under My Skin is a movie that shows the difficulties of making choices, and how these choices change the relationships we are in.

Denny is a free spirited artist, who falls for Ryan, a strait-laced lawyer. When Denny begins to question their gender, it starts to test the love between the two.

For a person to be truly happy, they have to be comfortable in their own skin, and that is why I always support a persons choice to change who they are. This is of course something that can cause tension with those around that person. What Under My Skin does well is it examines just how hard it can be.

What makes Under My Skin feel unique is that the main character Denny is played by four people, Liv Lewson, Chloe Freeman, Lex Ryan and Bobbi Salvor Menuez. For the audience this can at first feel somewhat strange, but there is an interesting point to this, it never allows the audience to get used to Denny being that certain person they see on the change. They are continually changing, just as Denny themselves feels the need to change.

While the most important element of the story is of course Denny’s choice and how they feel that need for a change, there is also the question of their partner Ryan (Alex Russell). In his more strait-laced world it feels much more conformist and reluctant to change, there are expectations on people which Ryan must overcome.

What I liked about Under My Skin is the fact it feels real, and personal. It is more about these two people rather than the world around them that can be judgemental and in many ways restrictive of how things “should be”. Writer and director David O’Donnell does very well to pull the audience into the story of Denny and Ryan, and the actors play their parts well. It is easy to see just what affect the choices that are taken have on the relationship, and what has to be overcome.

In the end we often watch movies about relationships looking for that happy ever after, but Under My Skin isn’t really about that. That isn’t to say that Ryan and Denny don’t have that ending, but the film is more of a focus on how hard it is to get to that place where you feel comfortable.

Under My Skin is a thought-provoking film that feels real, and fully pulls the audience into the struggle that takes place on the screen. This is the strength of Under My Skin and makes it easy recommend this movie one well worth watching.

****½  4.5/5

Under My Skin received its World Premiere at Raindance 2020 on Thursday 29th October.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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