Sunday, 10 October 2010

Mysterious Skin

It’s unusual to see an American film about youth that’s intelligent and hard hitting; Stand By Me (1986) comes to mind. According to psychologist Richard Gartner, Scott Heim’s novel Mysterious Skin is an uncommonly accurate portrayal of the long-term effect of child sexual abuse on boys.

Gregg Araki directed and adapted the screenplay for Mysterious Skin (2004) and it tells the story of how the paedophilic actions of a baseball coach on two eight-year-old boys can badly affect their lives. The teenage Neil McCormack (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) becomes a male prostitute with a physical attraction for middle-aged men and Brian Lackey (Brady Corbet) grows up thinking he’s been involved in an alien abduction. It’s not until the boys meet again after ten years that they begin to understand what’s happened to them.

Great performances from both sets of actors playing the two different phases in the boy’s lives. This harrowing film is quite shocking at times but is never judgemental and Araki handles the sex scenes extremely well.

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