Mysterious Skin  

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Mysterious Skin is a 2004 film directed by California filmmaker Gregg Araki, who also wrote the screenplay based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Scott Heim. The film is Araki's eighth, debuting at the Venice Film Festival in 2004, although it was not more widely distributed until 2005. The film received extensive critical acclaim, with an 83% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

According to psychologist Richard Gartner, the novel Mysterious Skin is an uncommonly accurate portrayal of the long-term effect of child sexual abuse on boys.



In 1981 Kansas, eight-year-olds Neil McCormick (Chase Ellison) and Brian Lackey (George Webster) are sexually abused by their baseball coach (Bill Sage).

Brian reacts to what happens by developing psychogenic amnesia and blocking out the event, for many years suffering from violent nose bleeds. As Brian grows up he becomes a rather asexual, geekish boy, and glimpses of memories in recurring dreams make him believe he has been abducted by aliens. Neil, who had begun developing feelings for older men as a child (after reading his mother's adult magazines and watching his mother perform fellatio on an older boyfriend of hers), goes on to become a prostitute.

When Brian (Brady Corbet) turns 19 years old, he meets Neil (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) for the first time since childhood and they uncover the secrets they share as well as beginning to heal one another.


Controversy in Australia

The movie has been the subject of some controversy in Australia, where the Australian Family Association requested a review of its classification, seeking to have the film outlawed due to its depiction of pedophilia. They suggested that the film could be used by pedophiles for sexual gratification or to help them groom children for sexual abuse. The six-member Classification Review Board voted four-to-two in favour of maintaining an R18+ rating.

Child actor protection

To protect the young actors playing the parts of the abused children, scenes with the children were shot separately from other scenes. Araki has said, “Chase and George had separate scripts from the rest of the cast”. The scenes were then later edited to give the appearance of the abuse happening to the children.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mysterious Skin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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