Under the Skin (2014)

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I am thrilled that all I knew, going into Under the Skin, was that Scarlett Johansson plays a creepy woman who drives around Scotland in her van luring men to hitch a ride with her. That’s all I knew. What happened to the men afterwards, I didn’t know. And why she did all this, I had no idea either. I had avoided reviews to such a degree that I knew nothing, and even reviews that weren’t that spoiler-y gave a lot away.

It’s an art film, really. It’s a mood piece. It’s a repetitive and strange and dreamy collage. It doesn’t explain itself until almost the final frame, although there are clues dropped along the way. I imagine that Under the Skin is made for repeat viewings. It would seem a totally different film if I saw it again. I would know more. I would see more. I would understand more.

Jonathan Glazer directed. He is a major talent. Under the Skin had been in the working stage for about 10 years, and Scarlett Johansson had been attached to it for almost that long. Her stardom now is a much different thing than it was when she and Glazer first started talking about the film. Her stardom is now almost to supernova level. Her dedication and devotion to this totally strange project speaks very well of her. A lot of Under the Skin was filmed with hidden cameras, Scarlett Johansson’s character driving around and circulating, all on her own, with the crew hidden off somewhere far away. It was risky film-making, risky for Glazer, and risky for Johansson.

She is the only star in the film. The men she meets, the men she lures into her van, are all unknowns. Some of them don’t appear to be professional actors, although no less engaging and interesting because of that. Many times their Scottish accents are so thick that I could barely understand them, but the film provides no subtitles. It adds to the dreamy foreign feeling of the film.

Who is this woman? We see her driving around the streets, staring out the window at passersby. She asks men for directions. She engages them in conversation. “Do you live alone?” “Do you live near here?” It seems that it’s a disarming tactic. She knows she’s pretty, she knows that the men will want to be with her, and she uses that. At least that’s what it seems like, although by the end of the film that assumption is shattered.

Scarlett Johansson’s character has a partner-in-crime, a guy who zips around on a motorcycle, cleaning up her messes. Who is he? He never speaks. We never see his face. With no language explaining anything, it becomes clear that she is on some kind of mission. And it is clear, too, when she “goes rogue”. But all of this unfolds at a dreamy pace, repetitive, we see the same thing happen again and again and again. We get to know this woman’s serial killer routine. It is routine for her. We don’t know why she does it. We put all kinds of things onto her, we project. Or, I did. Is she sick of being drooled over? Is she sick of being “prey” to men so she turns the tables on them? All of these things are in the film, subtextually, thematically, without being spoken. There are deep fissures at work here, deep gaps in understanding, for us, AND for her. She has no life outside of her routine. Or no life that we see. We don’t see her eating, or sleeping. She always has on the same clothes. There is something … off … about her. She’s frightening. But more than that, she is foreign. “Other.” It’s a marvelous performance. It takes great patience and trust to pull off a performance like this, a performance that doesn’t explain itself.

The sound design of the film is superb. There are what sounds like drum beats going on, slow and insistent, throughout almost the whole entire film. It becomes like a heartbeat, it becomes the ritualistic soundtrack to what is an extremely ritualistic film.

Who is she? What does she want? Who is the guy on the motorcycle? What is that weird black-oily space where she takes her pick-ups? Where do the men go?

You’ll just have to see the film for yourself. It leaves you with more questions than answers, although the most important question is indeed answered at the very end. You’ve sensed it coming, you’ve sensed its presence, and when it is revealed there is a beautiful and calm recognition of how right it is, there is a feeling of, “Of course … of course … THAT’S what’s been going on … Yes, yes, I can see it now.” And you realize, suddenly, what you’ve actually been watching. You realize, suddenly, what story you’ve actually been in all along. And of course the clues have been staring you in the face from the get-go. The clue is in the title.

It’s a hell of a film. I can’t believe it’s playing in huge multiplexes. I saw it at an early-morning show at a giant multiplex in Union Square, and the theatre was packed. The audience was silent and engrossed. You could have heard a pin drop in that theatre. Surrounded by superhero movies and encroaching blockbusters, Under the Skin is a total anomaly, and is a beautiful reminder of the willingness of audiences to engage with challenging material.

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36 Responses to Under the Skin (2014)

  1. Amy says:

    Great writeup, Sheila. What a film. I was lucky enough to catch it on Saturday at a small screening room here in Red Sox Nation. I kept expecting a cheap scare – I’m so conditioned for that now – but thankfully it never came.

    Sheila, what did you think of/feel about the ending? I don’t think I’m spoiling anything – certainly hope I’m not – by saying that for me this film had some serious Buddhist echoes. So I was silently cheering at the way Glazer wrapped things up.

    And the ACCENTS – it was like Willie from the Simpsons times 100! I wonder if it’s that way for British viewers? I thought it was interesting that the characters started to become more intelligible (I’m thinking the bus driver) after Laura started pursuing a certain course of action. What’s being said isn’t terribly important in the film anyway – it’s all the subtext in why people are talking at all.

    • sheila says:

      Amy – I totally agree that you didn’t need to understand the language – the behavior really said it all. And it added to the strange foreign aspect of her character – and yet SHE always seemed to understand them.

      I kept expecting a cheap scare too – how wonderful that it didn’t come.

      And those black oily scenes – with the men descending – Good God, it was awful!

      And her dawning realization – almost like one of the replicants in Blade Runner – her understanding of who/what she was – Amazing.

      The ending, to me, was perfect. You could do an entire gender-studies paper on that final sequence. I’m interested to hear more of your thoughts on the Buddhist implications of the scene.

      I think in the comments section we can be as spoiler-y as we like.

      So be warned, those who haven’t seen it. Spoilers in the comments!!

      • Amy says:

        Sheila – on the Buddhist issue, here goes. Like Nessie, spoilers may emerge from the murk occasionally!

        A central tenet of Buddhism (at least the Theravada and Zen strains that I’m familiar with) is that there is no permanent “self.” More broadly, beyond surface appearance all things and beings – are empty – meaning that they are empty at the most basic level of a permanent identity apart from other things and beings. What we perceive as “form” is temporary and largely a conditioned illusion.

        The scene when one of Laura’s victims sees his earlier counterpart appear to “implode” – it looks like what was alive in him was taken away, leaving nothing but the skin? That got me thinking, especially because this guy was emphatically one of Laura’s human targets – nothing out of the ordinary about him. What is the mechanism of his death? Why did this happen to him? The movie largely leaves this unexplained. Since Laura was the agent of this man’s death, the event is a pretty nefarious doing in the context of the movie, no doubt. But the image is a good metaphor for the death of the physical body by any means, foul play or no.

        Laura’s experiment in living as a human is indelibly accompanied by suffering, which comes right out of the First Noble Truth. There are other, more pleasant aspects to her journey, certainly, but her first real experiences with terror and physical pain occur after she steps out of the van apparently intending not to return. Some of this suffering, but not all, is very specific to Laura’s embodiment as a woman. However, the biggest threat that she appears to face is the death of her physical body, as it is for all living creatures.

        Finally, the being we’ve known as “Laura” dies: more specifically, she’s dissolved in stages. First the human form is revealed to be a mask, which she looks on with what I thought was some sadness, or maybe compassion. Then she is incinerated; the smoke first rises and then the ashes (mixed with snow?) fall right into the camera lens, our point of view. To me, this said: this is the path of you, me, and everyone, not just this alien creature who for whatever reason wanted to walk and live as a human being for a while.

        The ashes falling to the ground at the end also made me think of these words from Thich Nhat Hanh: “Tomorrow [after the death of my present form], I will continue to be. But you will have to be very attentive to see me. I will be a flower, or a leaf. If you are attentive enough, you will recognize me, and you may greet me. I will be very happy.” (From “Awakening of the Heart: Essential Buddhist Sutras and Commentaries”, Parallax Press, 2012, reprinted in “Buddhadharma” magazine, fall 2012.)

        I couldn’t help but think of Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” as well, a story which ends on a very similar note.

        • sheila says:

          Amy – beautiful beautiful thoughts. Really thought-provoking. The incineration of her body – and the ashes coming down like snow- certainly suggested an almost peaceful continuation of things … and yes, the sort of dissolving of the men in that black oils – their insides or essences – whatever MATTER it is that makes them up – disintegrating, leaving the husk … It was both terrifying, because Death is the ultimate unknown and nobody can report back to us what it is like – and the men submerged in that black space did look terrified, or maybe that was just me projecting.

          Her staring at herself in the mirror was completely haunting. I saw compassion, too. And the fly buzzing against the glass behind her. Everyone wanting to get OUT of the situation they are trapped in, i.e. the human condition.

          And the sexual moment with the guy who took her in was amazing and disturbing. I’d have to watch it again, to really unpack what was going on there. The poor guy had no idea what he was dealing with – and she had no idea what was happening either. Things are starting to break apart.

          Thanks for elaborating – really interesting.

  2. Helena says:

    // I wonder if it’s that way for British viewers? //

    Hi Amy. Well, people in Glasgow, where the film’s urban scenes were set, would have no problem at all ;-) A Glaswegian accent is pretty strong and distinctive – think Brooklyn, maybe. But you’re right, once the alien moved outside the town the accents did change, and I think the logger wasn’t even Scottish. Scarlett’s accent was standard middle class English, flat and posh – very consistent and convincing, and suitably alien in Glasgow.

    I do wonder about how even more culturally specific things – like the scene where she’s watching Tommy Cooper on TV – would go down out of the UK. I thought that was one of the strangest scenes of all.

    • sheila says:

      The scene on the beach was unbelievable. With the crying baby. And the surf. I honestly couldn’t clock any special effects in that scene – granted, I haven’t read a lot about it. But it looked like those people really were out in that crazy surf, and that baby really was placed in the middle of the beach all by itself.

      That whole sequence was so disturbing.

    • sheila says:

      The TV clips were totally bizarre!!

      • sheila says:

        What I liked about that moment – as an American unfamiliar with that show – was that it appeared to be a regular silly show, albeit unknown to me – but it sort of highlighted her otherworldliness, her “I’m just visiting here” vibe.

        Kind of like Bill Murray’s entire response to Tokyo in Lost in Translation. Using an actual TV clip in Under the Skin just somehow made her even more “Other”, if that makes sense.

  3. sheila says:

    Has anyone read the novel on which the movie is based? I have not.

  4. Helena says:

    Tommy Cooper is an institution, deeply beloved – I think Brits know the idea of him maybe more than his actual performances. He’s also very strange, surreal comedian, a brilliant choice to highlight the notion of the alien: familiar yet utterly strange himself.

    • sheila says:

      Love it – it really really worked as a choice then! – because I honestly didn’t know what I was looking at. It wasn’t classifiable.

  5. sheila says:

    And that final image in the woods reminded me (somewhat) of Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In – an obvious reference, but it had all of those deep associations attached to it – the seemingly disposable quality of women’s bodies – they’re seen as interchangeable – but also the breakable nature of them, that they are “weak” and “crack” – not as strong as men’s bodies (at least that’s theperception) – I don’t know, it’s deeper than I can quite comprehend at the moment – I need to think about it a bit more. It’s perfect, too, to have one of our big sex symbols of the day portraying such difficult concepts ABOUT the female body and men’s reactions to it. Because Scarlett Johansson certainly knows what that nonsense is like. But she wasn’t trying to “make a statement” – It’s really a great “blank face” performance – which I’ve talked about before. The emptying out of normal human reactions.

  6. Helena says:

    //But it looked like those people really were out in that crazy surf, and that baby really was placed in the middle of the beach all by itself.//

    Just so real and terrible, the crazy behaviour – the Czech guy saving the family man from the surf, who just runs straight back in. Glazer captures a certain craziness and ‘otherness’ in the human characters. Do you remember the scene when the Alien follows a guy to a nightclub and is caught up in this wave of girls heading into the club – at first absolutely terrifying, then accepting and friendly, they carry her into the club like the waves carrying the dog.

    • sheila says:

      Yes! All those party-birds completely swooping around her – and she can’t resist at all. But she’s so not LIKE them. She doesn’t know “the rules”.

      I loved her “tactics” with the men – the friendly banter. I imagine that that too will look very different when I see the film a second time. The first time I just saw it as a choice made by a sociopath – a tactictal strategic choice – but now, obviously, I have to re-think that. It was her approximation of human behavior, an “imitation” of what conversation looks like.

      Or something like that. I have to think about it a little bit more.

  7. gina in alabama says:

    No, I haven’t read this novel, but I did read (and enjoyed) Faber’s neo-Victorian novel Crimson Petal and the White. The author’s name sounded familiar.

  8. Helena says:

    //It was her approximation of human behavior, an “imitation” of what conversation looks like.//

    It was both, wasn’t it, a checklist to tick off before making a move, and yet so plausible. Like one of those computers that can mimic human responses based on algorythms or something.

    • sheila says:

      Right – a lot of it really reminded me of Blade Runner, and the Sean Young character who doesn’t know what she is, but who FEELS real to herself.

      The interaction with the guy getting groceries – I apologize, I don’t know what to call his condition – but what a performance. WHAT a scene in the truck. It was really the beginning of things cracking apart. His other-ness … his outsider status … the way she looked at him … and then later, staring at herself in the mirror, with the fly buzzing against the glass …

      It was so profound. I’m still not articulate about all of this yet. I’m still working through it.

  9. Helena says:

    Neurofibromatosis. That scene where he’s striding over the grass, like he’s been reborn as some kind of Blake-an shining child. Wow. (Gets killed by Motorcycle Guy, I’m assuming.)

    An article about him here: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/apr/13/scarlett-johansson-screen-stigma-disfigurement

    • sheila says:

      Oh Helena, thank you so much for that link. How amazing. I love that he and Scarlett had competitions over who could tell the most inappropriate joke! Also: that the line about his “beautiful hands” really came from his mother. Wow.

  10. Paul Dionne says:

    Great flick; of course, its premise is absolutely silly (though I haven’t read the source book) – if Scarlett Johansson’s character can talk to men in order to so easily entice them, why does she seem so clueless when the shit comes down and she begins to realize what she is…..? But it’s an art film, so silly is as silly goes, and after seeing it, it truly gets under your skin –

    • sheila says:

      // why does she seem so clueless when the shit comes down and she begins to realize what she is //

      Because it’s a total mindfuck. She is not aware of who/what she is – it’s like being inside a maze – or, I keep mentioning the replicants in Philip Dick’s book and Blade Runner. She’s approximated human behavior as best she can. She has no skills. She IS clueless. It was also a strange little commentary on the dissociation that women often feel about their own constantly objectified bodies. I loved that aspect of it, weird as it was.

      // after seeing it, it truly gets under your skin //

      I know !! it was so fun – I left the theatre, and there were couples walking by me on the sidewalk who obviously had been at the same show, and everyone was deep in discussion about it. I love it. movies not as escapism, but as something much deeper. It was really cool.

  11. Denise says:

    This film was so disturbing to me. And so memorable!
    I work at a nonprofit cinema and a bunch of us watched this film together and when we walked out we were all pretty quiet. Several hours later we all needed to come together and talk it through. It felt like a therapy session!

  12. Michael says:

    After the (more than half-full, afternoon) show I saw ended, practically everyone stayed all the way through the credits, either sitting stunned, processing what they’d just seen (as I was) or asking questions — and I was expecting this to be more of a movie that prompts walk-outs where I live!

    Re: the novel, also haven’t read it, am thinking of reading it before I see the film again, though this review (http://cinema-scope.com/currency/skin-jonathan-glazer-uk/) discusses in a fair amount of detail how it seems to have been far away from a straight adaptation.

    • sheila says:

      Michael – thanks for the link. Fascinating. Yes, it sounds like Glazer diverged – and it was probably good that he did so. I was intrigued though about the bit regarding “mercy” – there being no word for that concept in the alien’s language.

      I love your description of your experience seeing it – same thing for me. It was one of those really great collective movie experiences.

  13. Regina Bartkoff says:

    Sheila
    I was riveted the whole time! and this movie does stay with you yes, the terrible beach scene, (don’t go back into the water! go get your baby!) the horrible and sad scenes of those sweet men going into the black. The gentle guy who takes her in and then the rapist. The gang of men, all the different kinds of men, but most of them good. I hadn’t read any reviews either and I just went with it. I heard two men talking, arguing behind me on the way out too, “I was so confused” “what the hell were you so confused about?!” Interesting too your comments on women’s bodies, “weak” “crack”. Because I felt fascinated by the way Scarlett’s body was filmed, her fascination with her own body, her looking at her own face weeping at the end, but also her body itself. (and how the director made someone going to have a bite of cake so intense and beautiful, I don’t know) A very beautiful body, for sure, but not our thin model type standard we still have and I loved that. And her body seemed so soft, sweet and vulnerable, similar to how she was when she was picking up the men. That the man with the deformities got to her when a baby left on a beach alone didn’t. Imagine someone like Angelina Jolie playing this role, it would have been a whole other movie.

    • sheila says:

      Regina – I totally agree that the “handling” of Scarlett’s body was fascinating. She did look very soft, and round – vulnerable – and whatever the men were seeing, her black bra, her sexuality – was clearly a projection on their part (which she was probably aware of too). But the body is just a body. That is how it is made, that is what she looks like. Whatever we put onto it comes from US – the movie was a sort of subtle commentary on all of that, I thought – because she, the character, was almost completely unaware of the body – It wasn’t hers. She was an alien trapped inside it. Kind of interesting – I mean, how many women actually feel that way, you know? Not that it’s not pleasing to be found sexy and attractive, of course it is – but Under the Skin was pretty confrontational in actually examining what all of that might mean, how it might operate.

      // That the man with the deformities got to her when a baby left on a beach alone didn’t. //

      Right. Honestly, I need to see it again.

  14. Amy says:

    Hi Helena – good to know about Glaswegian speech. I thought the director might have been advising the guys to pile it on a bit to highlight Laura’s distance from her targets – but it turned out that they didn’t know they were on camera.

    And I hope I didn’t come across as disparaging the accent, which I actually love. I hail from or have lived in several areas in the States where the historic regional accents are so thick – and some of the usage so obscure — that a first-time visitor probably would have a pretty rough go understanding what’s being said. I’m confident that a native of Pennsylvania Dutch country or the surrounding counties could give any Glaswegian a run for their money in the local-dialect department. But vive la difference – that’s how you know local culture is alive and well and not being steamrolled by TV/internet.

  15. Patty says:

    About 4 years ago, I read the Michel Faber novel on which the film “Under the Skin” is based. The book was so intense and upsetting (when you finally figure out what’s going on) that I actually sobbed when I finished it. Put me off science fiction for awhile. I highly recommend it anyway–LOL. Have not seen the film but plan to catch it. Have you read any Michel Faber? His novel “Crimson Petal and White” blew me away–21st century Dickens. BTW, thanks for suggesting “The Flamethrowers” on your blog–loving it!

    • sheila says:

      // The book was so intense and upsetting (when you finally figure out what’s going on) that I actually sobbed when I finished it. //

      Patty – wow!! I must read it! I have not read any Michael Faber – but Gina, above in the thread, mentioned Crimson Petal – I will definitely check him out.

      So psyched you’re reading Flamethrowers!!

  16. Helena says:

    //And I hope I didn’t come across as disparaging the accent, which I actually love. //

    Not at all, Amy. It’s so distinctive, and within the film it marks a barrier between the ‘local’ and the ‘alien’ in such an interesting and specific way. It’s one of those accents people warm to, even if it takes a while to pick up – that accent puts you instantly on the men’s side. It’s interesting to hear people’s reactions to it, and I’m sure I miss out on the specificity of accents in America. You’re right, some things resist the power of tv and internet – seems the Glaswegian accent is one of them.

  17. Gertie says:

    I just wanted to say how beautiful your write up ofthis fim was. I also enjoyed how thought provoking all of the different comments and perspectives were from each of you.

    I am still feeling the effects ofthis film and i watched it a couple weeks ago at home.
    So Beautiful and so Haunting.

    Please what are your thoughts on the motorcyclist? That part is keeping me up at night haha. I havee watched it twice now…and I have ordered the novel.

    Thanks :)

  18. Todd Restler says:

    I had just seen The Frozen Ground (really liked it, I will comment seperately) and The Iceman (about Richard Kuklinski, bleh movie, but I could watch Michael Shannon read the phone book for 90 minutes and think it was decent), so I decided to watch Under the Skin to complete my “serial killer” trilogy weekend.

    Holy Crap. The scene at the beach, good Lord! That scene needs it’s own essay; I will comment a bit about it in a minute. SPOILERS throughout.

    I’m having a hard time getting my head around this movie. The title can refer to a lot of things, but to me, it reflects the goal of the movie, to get “Under the Skin” of the audience. It certainly got under my skin. There were images so haunting and disturbing I doubt I will ever forget them.

    The two that stick out to me the most (other than the beach) are similar:

    In the opening of the movie, alien “Laura” assumes the identity of “earthling” Scarlett Johansson, and you can see the “earthling” shedding a tear afterwards.

    After the second “killing”, her new victim sees the first male victim in the sticky black stuff, and that first victim is STILL ALIVE and STILL CONSCIOUS. He is scared, tries to reach out for help, and then seems to get all his innards sucked out.

    The idea that these aliens keep the victims alive and conscious throughout whatever “harvesting” they are doing is mind blowing. You can sense fear and confusion in the second victim….he KNOWS he is in some weird sticky black shit, it’s bad, and he will eventually wind up like the first guy. That is TERRIFYING to me.

    I am not sure what the “theme” of this movie is, or what it was trying to say. That is not
    necessarily a bad thing. It is not as simple as the movie Species with Michael Madsen and Ben Kingsley, for example. The victims in this movie are not assholes who deserve to die because they couldn’t see “Under the Skin” of this beautiful women. They are mostly nice. And the last segment of the movie, in the woods…..well if you think about it, Mr. Jovial Park Ranger Rapist Guy is actually the hero of the movie, showing guts and balls as he destroys the alien, therby saving more men in his country from the sticky black stuff. What does it “mean” that the rapist saves humanity? For me it doesn’t have to mean anything. I view this movie as having a singular purpose, that being to disturb the audience, and on that level it succeeded triumphantly.

    Now for the beach. I went back and watched the scene three more times after the movie was over. It’s a short scene. There are not that many shots or cuts. It has nothing to do, on the surface, with anything else in the movie. But it’s one of the most haunting things I have ever seen on screen in my life.

    The shot of the dog struggling to swim. The wife recklessly swimming out, then desperately trying to swim back. You see the wife furiously dog paddling, then switch to a crawl stroke. You can imagine the mind-set: “I’m in big trouble, but I still have my wits, let’s try a strong crawl stroke to get out of this”. Useless. Then the husband going in after, getting saved, going BACK in, essentially committing suicide TWICE. The surfer’s exhausted defeat on the shore. And, of course, the baby, and that final shot of the motorcycle guy taking the tent, and leaving the tot on the shore to die.

    I’m not sure I have ever been so crushed by a scene in any film, EVER. And we were not introduced to those drowning characters at all. Didn’t matter. The image of the dog struggling in the water, and the baby on the shore, I am certain will never leave my brain.

    Maybe that’s what the movie is about? The fragility of life? Like one minute you are on the way to the beach with your wife, baby, and dog, and the next minute you are drowning in a rip-tide? Or one minute you are about to hook up up with a hot woman, and the next minute you are in a black sticky trap being harvested?

    I don’t know. The only thing I know for sure is that the movie fucked me up big time. And that’s a good thing. I respect that, love it in fact. What a movie!

    And not that she needs it from me, but a special shout out to ScarJo, who I have loved since Ghost World, and who clearly is seeking out challenging material, and investing everything she has, literally, into the parts. Gutsy, fearless acting. She can and will do anything.

    • sheila says:

      Todd – so much to chew on here, so much to think about. I love how involved you are. Yes, the scene on the beach! Haunting – I haven’t seen it since it came out but I remember it vividly and how … wild and … uncontrollable it felt. That baby sitting by itself in the huge landscape?

      In my memory – it is about trying to be human, or trying to approximate being a human … and since it’s a woman, that is going to be a different experience than the “norm”, already. Her skin is cracking. Biologically, women have that vulnerable spot – the opening – which is destabilizing if you think about it too much. You have sex and another human being enters you. Hopefully gently and hopefully with your consent. You know, it’s great stuff, and it’s normal, birds do it, bees do it, the human race is perpetuated through it – but the film has actually thought about it, has some worry about it – we are so much in her experience that that moment has a ton of resonance, within the context of the plot and also in a larger universal sense. There’s a reason the film is bringing up gender-studies-ish conversations.

      She has no concept of how to deal with it – his entry into her body – he is going to ruin her – crack her open, crack off her skin – and it’s exacerbated by her lack of human-ness to begin with. I was blown away by that aspect of the film – as someone who often feels totally on the outside of these “normal” things that other people experience with (seemingly) totally no drama. Like the loud chattering “birds” on their way to the nightclub. Females. But … as unlike our heroine as if they were the aliens, not her. It’s a mindfuck, for sure.

      I love Scarlett, and especially love her choice to do this very strange and challenging movie – filmed under extremely challenging circumstances. She was incredible.

  19. Todd Restler says:

    That is such an interesting take Sheila. I never considered how this movie might play completely differently for a male vs. female viewer. As a man, I felt completely violated by the stalking and harvesting of the men in the movie. But as you point out, as Scarlett tries to become “more human”, the tables turn, and she is the one being violated.

    There are probably 1000 ways to read this film, all of them interesting. It is definitely one of those movies that “stay with you”.

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