Mysterious Skin (2004) review


Mysterious Skin

Run time 105 mins, rating 18

Mysterious skin is the story, of how an event in your childhood, can radically alter the way you live your life, we first meet Brian, played as a child by George webster, and as an adult by Brady Corbet. A child who can’t remember 5 hours of his life, and is plagued after these 5 hours by nosebleeds and blackouts, he is completely convinced that he has been abducted by aliens.

Although he is the first person in this film we are introduced to he is not, in fact the main character, no, our main character is Neil, played as a child by George Webster and as an adult by Joseph  Gordon- Levitt. who through a traumatic event in his childhood, becomes a male prostitute.


Now I am aware that, that sounds very much like an exploitative, please give me an oscar film,  but it isn’t, this is one of the most touching, harrowing, funny, well acted and all around best films I have ever seen, when I say funny what I actually mean is that it has comedic moments, it is not a comedy, please don’t go into this thinking that, it is a hard, hard watch, but so worth it in every way.

The acting is fantastic in this film, even from the child actors, they are really convincing as children, I know that sounds stupid, but come on how many films have you seen when the child actors are so bad they just take you out of the film, in this they act exactly like children would be in these situations.

The person who steals the show is Levitt, he is so Identifiable as Neil and as he does what he does during this film we are totally with him, one of the films most touching scenes is when he encounters a dying aids victim, as the man takes off his shirt to reveal all the legions on his chest he says ” sorry these have a habit of showing up in the most inopportune places”, and then says “don’t worry this is going to be the safest encounter you’ve ever had, can you just rub my back I just need to be touched”, I must confess it is a scene that nearly made me cry.


One of the films more humorous scenes takes place in a bar with Neil and his best friend Eric (see picture above), Neil drops a tab of acid offers some to eric who replies “dude, one of us has gotta drive”. When Neil and Brian finally meet, it culminates in the single most touching scene I’ve ever seen.

This film isn’t some insincere weepy like the notebook, it’s a brilliant, brutal, unflinching, and amazing film that should be seen by anyone who has an interest in film, be warned though, this film is very 18, it isn’t for kids… At all this makes the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo look like a family film, don’t let that put you off though because it’s great and should be so much more well known than it is.

Rating 5/5 Just watch it.

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