Under the Skin revisited: Scarlett Johansson’s alien allure still captivates


n the realm of science fiction and fantasy, few films have left an indelible mark like Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin. Released in 2014, this masterpiece saw Scarlett Johansson in a role that was as enigmatic as it was haunting. Johansson’s portrayal of a seductive alien wandering through Scotland in a van, preying on men, was not just a performance but a statement. “Johansson’s (literally) naked performance highlights not only the flaws of her alien actions, but the flaws of the world that we live in today,” as reported by Female First.

As we look back, it’s clear that Glazer’s decision to adapt Michael Faber’s novel was a stroke of genius. The film’s perspective, focusing on a lone female alien’s view of humanity, was both bold and refreshing. Johansson, known for her recognizable roles, took a leap into the unknown, delivering a performance that still resonates with audiences today.

Leading ladies in fantasy and sci-fi

But Johansson was not alone in her foray into the fantastical realms of villainy. Uma Thurman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Natasha Henstridge, Kate Beckinsale, Naomie Harris, Mila Kunis, and Angelina Jolie – each of these talented actresses brought something unique to their roles as female antagonists. From Thurman’s Medusa in Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief to Jolie’s nuanced portrayal of Maleficent, these roles broke the mold of typical female characters in genre films. Jolie really does get under the skin of this character, capturing the complexities of a character once deemed purely evil.


These performances were not just about being the antagonist; they were about redefining what a female character could be in a genre often dominated by male perspectives. They showed strength, vulnerability, and a sense of agency that was both empowering and inspiring.

Under the Skin revisited: Scarlett Johansson’s alien allure still captivates© Provided by Desimartini
Also read: Scarlett Johansson’s casting controversy, look back at Hollywood’s inclusivity battle The enduring influence of these roles

As we stand today, reflecting on these cinematic moments, it’s clear that they have left a lasting impact. Films like Under the Skin and the roles undertaken by these remarkable women have shifted the narrative in fantasy and sci-fi cinema. They’ve paved the way for more diverse and complex characters, allowing for a richer and more inclusive storytelling experience. In revisiting these films, we’re reminded of the power and potential of cinema to challenge, captivate, and change perceptions. Johansson’s role in Under the Skin was more than just a performance; it was a statement about society, femininity, and the alienation we all feel at times. It’s a testament to the power of film and the enduring legacy of these iconic roles.

As we look to the future, let’s not forget the lessons learned from the past. These films and performances are not just entertainment; they’re milestones in cinematic history that continue to inspire and influence.

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