Under Our Skin

Under Our Skin

2008, NR, 104 min. Directed by Andy Abrahams Wilson.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Oct. 2, 2009

Wilson’s documentary advocates for the improved diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, an illness that takes many forms and is under-recognized and undertreated by the medical establishment. With 20,000 new cases diagnosed every year (and maybe as many as 100,000 a year unreported and inaccurately diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control), the disease has overtaken HIV/AIDS as our country’s fastest growing epidemic. Under Our Skin makes a carefully structured argument concerning the many reasons for this neglect: Lyme disease resembles many other common illnesses, such as M.S. and Alzheimer’s; it attacks multiple organ systems so there is no single paradigm for its development, and it often commingles with other diseases; there is no reliable test for Lyme; and there remains a widespread impression of Lyme as a fashionable disease “du jour,” and many doctors believe the symptoms are psychosomatic. The film follows several patients, many of whom have visited with dozens of physicians over the years in their maddening quest for an accurate diagnosis. Wilson, however, doesn’t stop here in his investigation. His film suggests that there are also ulterior reasons at work in the downplaying of Lyme disease, reasons that involve the patent restrictions that cause researchers to work in isolation from one another; the rise of managed care, which has been concurrent with the increase of Lyme since the 1970s; powerful naysayers among the medical experts; and the lack of “Lyme-literate” doctors and the legal persecution of the few who do specialize in the disease’s treatment. Under Our Skin, in this light, becomes more than an educational treatise on the specifics of Lyme disease. The information it presents is eye-opening for medical consumers and health professionals of any stripe. And the film incidentally makes a great case for health care reform.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Films
The Mystery of the Pink Flamingo
The film about flamingos that is definitely not about flamingos

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 4, 2020

All My Life
True-life cancer romance is tepid chicken soup for the soul

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 4, 2020

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Stardust
Bowie before he became Ziggy in this less-than-glittering docudrama

Nov. 27, 2020

Sound Unseen Review: <i>Stardust</i>
Sound Unseen Review: Stardust
The birth of Bowie the icon retold with more glimmer than glitter

Nov. 16, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Under Our Skin, Andy Abrahams Wilson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle