Press and Reviews of SKIN


“A measured and harrowing central performance from Sophie Okonedo...
Her anguish lingers long after the end credits roll.”
- Mike Goodridge, Screen Daily


"This great film by Anthony Fabian tells this story through the eyes of a happy girl who grows into an outsider. This isn't one of those potted stories of uplift and doesn't end quite the way we expect, although we do get to see the real Sandra Laing right at the end."

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

"Of the innumerable, untold family tragedies that followed the imposition of the racist restrictions of the apartheid regime, the story of Sandra Laing is one of the most devastating. Skin tells her story with deep compassion and, for all its starkness and tragedy, it is a work of great beauty and inspiration."

Barry Ronge, The Sunday Times (South Africa)

"The journey to racial tolerance, which some people take for granted, has not been easy and over the years many people have struggled with the idea of accepting others as equals. It is within this context that all South Africans should be happy that a movie has been made that tells this story of race and racial tolerance which, thankfully, is slowly taking root in our society ."

Edward Tsumele , The Sowetan, South Africa

"The English actress Sophie Okonedo plays Sandra from age 17 to recent times. She takes her from shy kid to young mother to mature woman, through an amazing series of travails. At each turn, things become both more absurd and more tragic. Fabian has done a superb job. It's a scarifying, haunting film; Laing's story is brutal and the film never softens that. She survived, but what a price she paid."

Paul Byrnes, The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

""We've all seen movies and TV shows based, or supposedly based, on true stories, but I can't remember the last time one of them affected me quite like the South African movie, SKIN."

Leonard Maltin's Secret's Out report

"To get a sense of just how deep the lingering effects of institutionalized racism must run, take yourself to Anthony Fabian's Skin, a powerful and compelling drama based on a true story that still resonates."

Marshall Fine, Huffington Post review

"In the end, SKIN isn't a movie about skin at all, but the indomitability of the human spirit." - Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post review


"If ever there were a true-life tale that laid bare the laws of South African apartheid in all their arbitrary lunacy, it's the one dramatized in Anthony Fabian's straight-ahead biopic of Sandra Laing" - Ella Taylor, Village Voice review


"A South African family is divided by race." - Betsy Sharkey, LA Times review

"It isn't just the inhumanity of apartheid that's illustrated in "Skin," but the out-and-out lunacy of laws and classifications intended to keep blacks and whites apart." - Walter Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle review

ABC Drive-Time Radio, Perth, Australia. Listener Margaret Roberts rates the film "Six out of five."

Lisa Jensen, Good Times Santa Cruz review

Jonathan Valdez, Encore Magazine

Cary Darling, Dallas News review

Ted Fry, Seattle Times review

Seattle Post Globe review

Stars Studio report

Eur Web review

The World NPR Radio Interviews with Anthony Fabian and Sandra Laing

AFI Dallas Interview with Anthony Fabian and Alice Krige
Film Forward review

Entertainment Weekly review,,20317541,00.html

The Power Player Magazine

Macon review

IndieWire Q&A with Anthony Fabian

Epoch Times review

The Interview with Anthony Fabian

Film Journal review

Giant Mag review

Interview Magazine Interview with Anthony Fabian

Black Beat/Right On Magazine capsule review

My Mosaec Q&A with Anthony Fabian and Sandra Laing

Yahoo Japan Audio Interview with Anthony Fabian

The Loop review

Essence Interview with Sandra Laing

Spirituality and Practice Review

UN Radio Interviews with Anthony Fabian and Sandra Laing

The Jewish Journal Interview with Sophie Okonedo

William Gooch Sound on Sight interview with Anthony Fabian

Cole Smithey report

James van Maanen, Trust Movies

Huffington Post Dan Persons' podcast interview with Anthony Fabian

Women and Hollywood Interview with Sandra Laing

Good Prattle Interview with Sophie Okonedo

Ticket Stubz reiview

Coming Soon review

Alex Roberts review

BV on Movies Interview with Sophie Okonedo

Alternative Film Guide review

Clutch Magazine Interview with Sophie Okonedo

Hollywood Go review

Movieline Interview with Sophie Okonedo

Airtalk review

KPFK Interviews with Sandra Laing, Anthony Fabian and Alice Krige


Backstage review

Contra Costa Times review

Leonard Maltin review

Campus Circle reivew

Movie Dearest review

An Indian persective: Anthony Fabian interview in Indian Express

Channel Four Television

Channel 4 Interview with Sandra Laing & Anthony Fabian

Sophie Okonedo is interviewed on GMTV, ITV

Sandra Laing: The outcast "Sandra Laing was a black baby born to white parents at the height of apartheid. The hatred, rejection and heartache she suffered at the hands of the authorities, her teachers and her family sent shock waves across the world." Chrissy Iley, Sunday Times

"This powerful drama tells an important story from apartheid-era South Africa with honesty and real sensitivity. And the cast makes it thoroughly gripping by never playing it safe." - Rich Cline, Contact Music

"Powerful apartheid drama with a strong script, intriguingly complex characters and terrific performances from Sophie Okonedo, Sam Neill and Alice Krige." - Matthew Turner, London View


Johann lunch"This quietly intelligent drama, based on a true story, finds a new way of dramatising race, class and society in apartheid-era South Africa, and it boasts fine performances by Sophie Okonedo, Sam Neill and Alice Krige as a family whose refusal to conform was either heroic or tragi-comic or merely dysfunctional. Or perhaps all three." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian


"Anthony Fabian's film tells such a bizarre story it could only be based on the truth. Sophie Okonedo – herself raised by white parents – devotes herself admirably to the part." - Anthony Quinn, The Independent


"An apartheid story no one would screen" - UK Independent editorial by Arifa Akbar, Arts correspondent


"In an increasingly mixed society keen to break down barriers, shouldn’t there be more enthusiasm for diversity in film?" - UK Times editorial: Skin - the movie and the obstacle


Sophie Okonedo on growing up with a huge afro and a Jewish mum, her new film Skin, and why she's excited about playing Winnie Mandela
- The Guardian - Question Time: Sophie Okonedo


The Guardian Film and Music Podcast with Andrew Pulver

Interview with Anthony Fabian

Skin - BBC World Service

We review 'Skin' - the new award-winning South African movie starring Sophie Okenedo and Sam Neill. The film tells the true story of Sandra Laing who was born in Piet Retief, a small conservative town in apartheid South Africa. The newspaper columnist Hannah Pool, who is Eritrean by birth but adopted by white British parents, comes into the studio to review it for us.

Tri-Continental Film Festival - One of South Africa's first sneak previews of SKIN

"In today’s PC world it’s easy to forget the absurdities of apartheid rules, or the way they still influence how we regard each other."
- Theresa Smith, Cape Argus Tonight


“One of the more bizarre illustrations of racial injustice under apartheid is dramatized in SKIN. An involving tale presented with polished straightforwardness, acted with conviction by Sophie Okonedo as well as Sam Neill and Alice Krige as the well-intentioned but often misguided parents.”
- Dennis Harvey, Variety

“A stirring allegory... Director Anthony Fabian's heartfelt attentions keep the picture on the right emotional track.”

- Michael Rechtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter


Reviews from Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 08

"A remarkably accomplished first feature"
Toronto Star

"This is a powerful movie. See it — but go prepared."
Metro Toronto

Reviews from AFI Fest, Los Angeles

"Director Fabian’s debut is focused, well crafted, and free of sermons. "
Screen Crave

"Okonedo gives an outstanding performance as a woman forced to live in two worlds under the blistering rule of Apartheid. She’s so convincing that you hang on to her every word and movements."

"Skin is an extraordinary movie that respects the complexity of the issues involved."

"..looks at the hurtful legacy of apartheid in South Africa.."


BBC Talking Movies, Toronto Film Festival - SKIN feature

St. Louis International Film Festivalfilm-review-5

"Sophie Okonedo - most known for her roles in Hotel Rwanda and The Secret Life of Bees - delivers an exceptional performance as the elder Sandra."
Beige World

Review from Honolulu

"..a most potent depiction of racism and a South Africa not very far in the past.

Dubai International Film Festival

"Skin: Treating difficult subjects"
"Sophie Okonedo, who plays Laing, does a fantastic job of capturing the full spectrum of her character ."
"More Than Skin Deep"
"Of a Black Woman Born to White Parents"
Khaleej Times

AFI Dallas International Film Festival 2009


Santa Barbara International Film Festival

"My favorite feature film pick for this year."
SBCC Film Reviews

Washington DC

‘Sandra’s undeserved pain—both emotional and physical—will break your heart, particularly when her eventually estranged husband declares: “Her skin is a curse.”’
- Tricia Olszewski, Washington DC City Paper

South Africa

"Skin is film-making of a very high order… there are no transcendent heroes, just people -- confused, afraid, wanting to love and be loved, caught in the web of a great evil and trying to make a go of things by their own best lights.

I cannot recall a film that captures so well the textures of SA, South Africans and life under apartheid."
- Simon Barber, Business Day

Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles -l H. Clent Bowers, The Artists' Forum

Seattle Film Festival Review SIFF

Almost unbearable , May 26, 2009

By Jason Eckelman

“I don't know why, exactly, this movie resonated so much with me, but it damn near killed me. I was practically hysterical when it was over, and had to sit in the theater for several minutes after the film ended so I could pull myself together enough to leave. This had the potential to be emotionally manipulative & sentimental, but, in my opinion, it was brutally honest and totally real."

SIFF Interview with composer Helene Muddiman