Movie review: 'Skin'

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

The true story of a dark-skinned girl born to white Afrikaner parents in apartheid-torn South Africa.

If you make a movie about apartheid in South Africa, drama is practically built-in, though not necessarily excellence. "Skin," based on a true story about Sandra Laing, a black girl born, through a genetic anomaly, to white Afrikaner parents (Alice Krige and Sam Neill), is inherently dramatic but needed a stronger director than Anthony Fabian, who overdoes understatement. There are compensations, though. Sophie Okonedo, so good in "Hotel Rwanda," is fine here as well. As Sandra, she registers the disgust of racial indignity with visceral force – racism literally distends her. Grade: B (Rated PG-13 for thematic material, some violence, and sexuality.)

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