Skins Pure Review: The Art of Adulthood

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers from Skins Pure. Please do not read until you watch it. 

Skins Pure is the second installment of the Skins movies.  These movies conclude the franchise. In Skins Pure, we follow Cassie Ainsworth (Hannah Murray) through her life as an adult. Cass has moved to London after living in New York for a couple years with–we presume–Sid (Mike Bailey). Viewers don’t learn much about her life in New York. We are only shown Cassie’s life now. In the new version of her life, she is no longer the pixie-like girl with an eating disorder. Instead Cassie’s insecurities are more vibrant. She is also no longer sexually free.

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Like in Skins Fire, Cassie also becomes entangled in an odd  love triangle. The two men Cassie finds herself intertwined with both work at a cafe with her. Cassie’s first suitor  is Yaniv (Daniel Ben Zenou), who initially comes off as a playboy. However, after his first sexual encounter with Cass, his fragile sense of self becomes more apparent than hers. The second love interest is Jakob (Olly Alexander), who is a nice guy but a very immature, socially awkward young man. Both men act as a catalyst for Cassie’s realization of her true potential.

The minor storyline, or maybe the major one in disguise, is of Cassie’s father’s increasing mental instability.  This gives viewers a broader look into the shaky family life of Cassie, and maybe a reason for her own mental issues.

Many fans complain about these Skins movies not following the original formula of the series. However,  these movies do very much capture the essence of the show, and the problems of these characters, but in a more realistic, mature manner. Cassie has always had self-esteem problems, but as a teen she over compensated for them with her bubbly personality.  In addition, Cassie’s need to be liked was highlighted throughout Skins series 1 and 2. That is why the internet sensation storyline in the movie works so well. It captures the core of a major social phenomenon and this character.

By  showing more of Cassie’s dad,  Marcus ( Neil Morrissey), and her little brother, Reuben, viewers see Cassie’s growth but her father’s suspension in youth ideology. They also see the chaos that creates. One of the most profound parallels between Cassie and her father in the movie is the final scene between them. In this scene, Marcus is ready to run off to another country to escape his life, just like Cassie did in Skins series 2. However, because of Cassie’s journey, she now realizes that’s not the way to live. She does the mature thing by offering to take control of her brother.

Skins Pure is very much true to the character of Cassie, but like everyone, she has grown up. It may not be a pretty grown up life. But it feels more real than  anything shown in her teen years.

Another strength of Skins Pure is the idea of what’s pure art. Jakob finds himself obsessed with Cassie because of her beauty. Then he captures it in his photography. It is only through photos that Cassie begins to see her own desirability. However, when Cassie goes from art for art sake to using it for commercial purposes, Jakob becomes enraged. Cassie has devalued herself by becoming a commercial model. Jakob sees art as doing it simply to create. To him that is the pure form of it. But, like teenage Cassie and her dad, he fails to live in the real world, where currency is needed for survival.  Jakob becomes another male refusing to grow up.

Therefore, making it essential that Cassie leaves him to take her final steps toward maturity. Jakob represents the ideal artist. Nevertheless, he fails to develop beyond the childlike dreamer to become more than a guy who can take beautiful pictures. Jakob is capable of real success but he denies his potential by living immaturely.  In Jakob’s world, art can only be  beautiful, simple and pure but that leads to his downfall. He fails to see the bigger picture of it.

Of the Skins movies so far, Skins Pure, due to the multilayers of storytelling,  has the most quiet depth.  Everything from the music to the images of London says something bigger about society, youth and life.  The Skins creators have executed bravely a look at the shift from the carelessness of youth to the harsh reality of adulthood. Anyone who has taken that journey knows it is not always pretty but necessary for true, pure growth.

8/10

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