Sunday, August 15, 2010


The only reason I picked up the book in the shop was because Joseph Gordon-Levitt was looking devastating on the cover. There, I said it. I didn't expect the book to be amazing. I had no hopes for the film.

Sometimes, I really really love being wrong.

I read Mysterious Skin in one night. I remember staying up and having my throat aching the way it does when I'm tired. It was hot, Sydney being indecisive in summer, as I read about Brian Lackey and Neil McCormick. It was heartbreaking. There's not really anything uplifting about this book, except the occasional beauty in the language. It's about trying to find out who you were, and how you were that person. It's growing up in the most awful awful way. And it was all the anger, all the confusion, all the fucking hormones that I had, tied up and presented messily. It was the most believable story about aliens and being an alien I've ever read.

And then there's the film. I hate film versions of books (especially wretched Merchant Ivory). But Gregg Araki's film was exactly what I wanted. The dreamy music, the hick town, Brady Corbett as darling Brian, trying to remember the summer he was eight years old. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as cutthroatfragile Neil, who can't forget that summer. Even Michelle Tratchenberg was awesome. The whole movie captures that knife edge, when you know you're not quite grown up, but you so desperately want to be (I feel like I've been on that edge since I was about 7), when life feels hyper-real and the towns feel too small. It's confronting and gut wrenching. Mysterious Skin is unforgettable.

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