Cover image for Skin
Okonedo, Sophie.
Publication Information:
Port Washington, NY : E1 Entertainment, [2011]

Physical Description:
1 videodisc (107 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
Despite being born to Afrikaner parents, Sandra faces prejudice from her community due to her dark skin and African features. Torn between her family and the man she loves, Sandra must overcome the racial intolerance of her society in this uplifting true story.
General Note:
Title from container.

Aditional production companies: Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited, National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa, and Lip Sync Productions.

Based on the best selling book "When she was white" by Judith Stone.

Originally produced as a feature film in 2008.

Special features: behind the scenes featurette; deleted scenes; outtakes; script development workshops.
Reading Level:
Rating: PG-13; for thematic material, some violence, and sexuality.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DVD 42274 Adult DVD Open Shelf

On Order



A dark-skinned girl born to white South African parents attempts to explore her identity in the era of apartheid as her government, her parents, and society as a whole struggle with what it means to be a black child of Caucasian descent in a nation deeply divided by race. The year is 1955. Sandra Laing (Sophie Okonedo) has just been born to a pair of white Afrikaner parents, her brown skin and curly hair the surprising result of genetic throwback. As the government's rigid apartheid system struggles with whether to classify Sandra as white or black, the young girl and her parents gradually realize that the complications they face due to her appearance run deep and wide. Sandra lives in a society where the color of your skin determines the outcome of your life, and though she is eventually granted admission to an all-white school, she suffers endless torment from her intolerant classmates. Her father, Abraham (Sam Neill), is having a particularly difficult time accepting his daughter. Despite the fact that tests indicate he is her biological father, the neighbors constantly whisper behind their backs. And while Sandra's mother (Alice Krige) does her best to provide her daughter with understanding and emotional support, those consolations come at a high price for both mother and daughter. Her parents believe it's their daughter's birthright that she live as a white woman, though only after she grows up and falls in love with a black man will the conflicted Sandra finally find the strength to embrace her true identity as an African woman. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Based on Judith Stone's best-selling real-life story (When She Was White, 2007), director Anthony Fabian's film powerfully, if not always subtly, dramatizes the years-long struggle of Sandra Laing, the lightly black-skinned daughter of white Afrikaner parents in apartheid-era Cape Town. Movingly played as an adult by Sophie Okonedo, Laing was brought up as a white child at the insistence of her racist father (Sam Neill) but later chose life as a "colored" in a segregated society. With its message of hope, tolerance, and absolution, this biopic should find wide appeal, with classroom use a definite option. [See Trailers, LJ 1/11] (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.