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 Never, never, never give up

Abraham Laing

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Skin is a film based in apartheid-era and post-apartheid Africa, following the life of Sandra Laing, a black-skinned girl born to white Afrikaaner parents. The story drops many anvils about racism and living as a black person in apartheid-era Africa (To be expected, given the setting). The story progresses from when Sandra is a schoolchild, to when she begins searching for a husband, to her casting her political vote in a post-apartheid Africa. The film was given 10 awards in 8 different film festivals and nominated for one in another. It features Sophie Okonedo as Sandra, Sam Neill as Sandra's father, Abraham, and Terri Ann Eckstein as Sandra's father, Elsie.

Also based completely on a true story, as the Where Are They Now? Epilogue will show you.

Tropes used in Skin (film) include:


  • Abusive Parents
  • Anvilicious: The film does not let up when it wants to prove a point about how awful life was for blacks and black-skinned whites in apartheid-era Africa
  • Butt Monkey: Sandra Laing.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The ending, where Sandra, after 20 years of being unable to talk to her parents, finds her mother (Her father had already died of cancer) and her mother, near-death herself, gives Sandra a key. Which unlocks a cupboard where she finds a box. And in the box is her teddy bear, the only thing in her life that has never hurt her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: What Abraham very nearly gets on Petrus, thank God he was apparently trained in the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.
  • Et Tu, Brute?
  • Hope Spot: Many.
  • It Got Worse
  • Love Hurts
  • Moral Event Horizon: Plenty.
    • The Headmaster, when he hits Sandra with the cane enough times to make her wet herself (For no apparent reason except her skin colour).
    • Petrus' last confrontation with Sandra. There are hints throughout the movie alluding to this before it finally happens.
    • Sandra's mother refusing to allow her dying father to speak to her may be a debatable example, but it seemed somewhat harsh to this troper.
  • Papa Wolf: Abraham Laing drifts between this, Abusive Parent and Knight Templar Parent
  • Squick
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Sandra and Petrus. They get together though. Then Sandra discovers he's a Domestic Abuser...
    • Arguable. Petrus becomes a Domestic Abuser over time as he gets increasingngly disillusioned with what's happened to his life and blames the political regime, the white minority and subsequently the people he feels are connected to, or would benefit from the apartheid regime. This ties into his growing resentment for Sandra when he realises that she still maintained contact with her mother which to him seemed like an act of betrayal. However, it's probably no real justification for urinating over his wife in broad daylight, in front of the entire neighbourhood.
  • Tear Jerker: Quite a few, but the ending of the film is this and a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • The Pollyanna: Sandra
  • The Woobie: Sandra.
  • Wangst: Amazingly averted, given that Sandra is really a Butt Monkey.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue
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