Skin Review

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A young girl is born to white South African parents but appears to be black herself. This raises issues of prejudice in her school and neighbourhood.


An extraordinary true story drives this decade-spanning drama. Sandra Laing (Ella Ramangwane) is an apparently black child born to white parents in apartheid South Africa. Boarding school brings inevitable problems and raises the question of Sandra’s ethnicity. Her furious father Abraham (Sam Neill) fights to have her classified as white, but when Sandra becomes a woman (now Sophie Okonedo) she fails to feel at home with her white neighbours. It’s an emotive tale, designed to highlight racial injustice.

Okonedo is good, and Neill could do this kind of role in his sleep. It’s a shame his character’s hypocrisy isn’t explored — this man protects his daughter from prejudice, but won’t extend the same courtesy to black locals.

Very watchable in places with moving performances but not as brave or indepth as you want it to be.