Daily News header

Skin DVD Review

By     get stories by email

White Woman Gives Birth to Black Babies in Factual South African Saga

Until 1994, South Africa's system of Apartheid forbade people of different "races" to use the same stores, to attend the same schools or to reside under the same roof. Those oppressive segregation laws came to rip an Afrikaner family apart after the wife gave birth to a baby with dark skin and nappy hair in 1955.

Abraham (Sam Neill) and Sannie Laing (Alice Krige) raised a lot of eyebrows when they brought a brown newborn back from the hospital. While some neighbors suspected that the wife must have cheated, doctors did a blood test which determined that Abraham was in fact the father.

So, the couple had young Sandra (Sophie Okonedo) declared officially white and did their best to raise her in their lily white neighborhood. But as soon as she started school, the little girl was teased by her classmates and even beaten by teachers until complaints from other parents about the "kaffir" on campus forced the principal to expel Sandra. And when the authorities subsequently reclassified their daughter as "coloured," the Laings had to register her as a domestic servant just so that she could live at home legally.

This real-life nightmare is the subject of Skin, a heartbreaking bio-pic based on Judith Stone's best seller "When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided by Race." Adapted to the screen by Anthony Fabian, the picture effectively exposes the silliness of arbitrary groupings based on skin color.

Unfortunately, Apartheid really did exist, and the case of the Laings turned terribly tragic, since Sandra ended up estranged from her parents by the age of 15. She ran away from home pregnant to live on the other side of the proverbial tracks, in a black township with a married man. There, she proceeded to make a series of self-destructive choices, bearing numerous children out of wedlock she had to surrender to foster care.

Penniless, she attempted to reconcile with her folks, only to be told by her mother never to call or visit again. A frightening primer on how untreated racism can make lead someone to abandon, even hate their own offspring.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality and mature themes.

Running time: 107 minutes

Studio: Entertainment One

DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, outtakes, script development workshops, and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

To order a copy of When She Was White, the book Skin is adapted from, visit: 1401309372

To see a trailer for Skin, visit:

To order a copy of Skin on DVD, visit: B004D45NZ6

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Prior to the reunion, I was going in the wrong direction ... I didn't realize from whence I came ... By the time I was 16, I had become a lost soul, confused about life.
Kam Williams reviews an awful film that is a misogynistic dramedy, with four, obnoxious, testosterone-fueled slackers venting their bile on unsuspecting victims.
Potable water is becoming increasingly scarce. Water is life, but human misuse of water is causing big problems, according to the Secret of Water documentary.
Don't miss these opening movies of the week including Cinderella, starring Lily James, a live-action version of the classic fairytale.
Working man Darnell Lewis is stuck on the wrong side of the tracks in South Central L.A., living the opposite life to Mr. King who has money all around him.
High-action movies, starting with The Gunman, with Sean Penn, directed by Pierre Morel, plus the sci-fi Insurgent, with Shailene Woodley and Taylor Lautner in Tracers.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

landing page ad

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site