Second Skin (1999)

 Spanish love triangle

In the Spanish film Second Skin Elena (Ariadna Gil) is happily married to Alberto (Jordi Molla). Well, at least she thinks she’s happily married until she begins to sense that something is wrong in the relationship. Elena tries discussing the problem, but Alberto consistently denies that anything is wrong. Elena discovers hotel receipts in her husband’s pocket, and she confronts hims about an affair and ‘the other woman.’Alberto admits having an affair, but his new relationship is with another man, and he hides this from Elena.

second-skinThe acting in this fine Spanish soap opera is good. However, the character of Alberto is a bit problematic. The main dilemma in the film is not the affair, or the crumbling marriage, but whether or not Alberto can accept his homosexuality. He is torn between his wife, (he still claims to love her), and his new passion, Diego (Javier Bardem). While Alberto struggles to accept his homosexuality, his torment also can unfortunately be interpreted as insincerity as he weasely darts back and forth between his wife (who’s trying hard to understand), and Diego, who is confident and strong under adversity. The rock-solid characters of Elena and Javier serve as a contrast to Alberto’s uncertainty, despair, and fear, but the very nature of the love triangle places Alberto on shaky ground, and this was detrimental to the film’s central idea. Consequently, Alberto appears to be a less-sympathetic character, and more of a weasel than was perhaps intended. Javier Bardem is the Spanish version of George Clooney, and it’s always a pleasure to see him in a role. Also special note here for Cecilia Roth as Diego’s smitten work-mate. Directed by Gerardo Vera.

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Filed under Cecilia Roth, Javier Bardem, Spain

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