Under the Skin 2014

Critics score:
85 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Minds will be blown to the four winds. And - fair warning - a percentage of American ticket buyers may find themselves exasperated and/or exiting early. Read more

Christy Lemire, ChristyLemire.com: Pondering the questions, reveling in the mysteries - that's what matters. And I haven't even said the words naked Scarlett Johansson yet. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: Glazer's made an icy thriller of ontological and existential proportions. What does it mean to be human, to be alive? In Johansson he has a star who doesn't fear being a repository of those questions. Read more

Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press: When you wake up from this odd dream, you may wonder what the point was. It's probably there, but it's lost in that dark fog. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: A rather shapeless film where what's happening onscreen is often less interesting than trying to figure out whether the participants recognize they're sharing the cab of a truck with a world-famous actress. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Dream girl Scarlett Johansson digs for oil and hits a dry hole in Under the Skin. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin" holds you in a state of suspense tinged with dread from the very first image on the screen. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: "Under the Skin" begins to take on the feel of tragedy; of a creature trapped, like that baby, somewhere it cannot survive. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Under the Skin falls in love with its bleak monotony. It is a melodrama with all the thrills surgically excised. Read more

Scott Foundas, Variety: An undeniably ambitious but ultimately torpid and silly tale of an alien on the prowl. Read more

Ben Kenigsberg, AV Club: This is hardly the first film to observe an alien encountering strange customs, but it may be the first that seems conceived from that perspective formally as well as dramatically. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: Under The Skin lets its nightmarish imagery do the talking, forgoing explanation in favor of total sensory immersion. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: The story is at once simple and impenetrable. Visually it is arresting, when it isn't murky, and the droning, atonal soundtrack is as perfect for the film as it is annoying. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: The movie's a cinematic Rubik's Cube that snaps together surprisingly easily, yet whose larger meanings remain tantalizingly out of reach. Read more

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: This arty sci-fi thriller, adapted from a 2000 novel by Michael Faber, raises far more questions than it answers, yet that enigmatic quality is central to its appeal. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: It's admirable that Johansson should be so willing to go off the Hollywood grid, but the truth is, "Under the Skin" would have been a lot better if it wasn't so excruciatingly arty. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: A direct descendant of Nicolas Roeg's classic "The Man Who Fell to Earth," "Under the Skin" is the kind of movie people will be talking about, and dissecting and puzzling over, for years. Read more

William Goss, Film.com: A deliberately oblique work that prizes textures above answers. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: Viewers willing to embrace a purely visual experience without dramatic, emotional or psychological substance will comprise an ardent cheering section, but the film provides too little for even relatively adventurous specialized audiences to latch onto ... Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: Watching this film feels like a genesis moment - of sci-fi fable, of filmmaking, of performance - with all the ambiguity and excitement that implies. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: "Under the Skin" clearly does not intend to telegraph its meaning, but meaning may not be the movie's strong suit. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: Glazer is nothing if not ambitious; the rough edge of naturalism, on the streets, slices into the more controlled and stylized look of science fiction, and the result seems both to drift and to gather to a point of almost painful intensity. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: A beautiful and often hypnotic film. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Beautifully eerie, yet disappointingly dull ... Read more

Stephen Holden, New York Times: The movie's eerie, climactic image challenges our conventional notions of human identity and leaves us reflecting on the possibility that every being in the universe is an alien in disguise. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Under the Skin definitely gets under your skin. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: It's as existential as a sci-fi/horror film can possibly be. It requires that the viewer slip into a meditative mood and remain there for more than 90 minutes. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Roeper.com: One of the most polarizing movies in recent years. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Johansson is phenomenal in every sense of the word. She joins Glazer in creating a brave experiment in cinema that richly rewards the demands it makes. The result is an amazement, a film of beauty and shocking gravity. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: One of the many startling things about "Under the Skin" is how complicated and distressing a story can be told with almost no dialogue and absolutely no explanation or back story. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: This becomes quite dull, even sleep-inducing, especially considering the movie's overall cast of slow-moving gloom. Read more

Dan Kois, Slate: I was willing to watch more to discover what was underneath the surface. Once I found out, I was frozen in place, and then Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Glazer had their way with me. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Under the Skin" is original to the highest degree. Is it a great film? I'm not convinced. Are there moments of greatness in it? Quite a few. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Visually stunning but virtually indecipherable ... Read more

Jon Frosch, The Atlantic: A sometimes hypnotically beautiful, sometimes monotonous sci-fi experiment. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: All this is initially fascinating, and then progressively less so. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Most of Under the Skin operates on an almost subconscious level. The truth is out there in Glazer's screenplay, which he co-wrote with Walter Campbell, but it's intuitive rather than didactic. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: Johansson provides an extraordinary window into an alien being; through her eyes, we see and hear the world as someone not from here would. Her performance is the payoff that makes Glazer's enigmatic storytelling choices so effective. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: An intoxicating marvel, strange and sublime. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: So unfathomable that it feels like a dully haunting nightmare whose details retreat and fade almost immediately upon waking. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: There are dozens of mysteries in Under the Skin that don't cohere in any logical way but work like gangbusters on the imaginative subconscious. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: At times the film is right on the border between mesmerizing and narcotizing, but it casts an otherworldly spell. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: Once "Under the Skin" reaches its surprisingly affecting conclusion, it feels less like a cinematic novel than a well-executed short story. Read more