This is essentially the story of a young woman, Iris, who wants more from life than the conventional relationship-marriage-children and mediocre career that her boyfriend and her sister, Rose, have settled for. This comes to the fore when her mother dies and Rose cannot support her emotionally, being grief-stricken herself and heavily pregnant, and Iris discovers that none of her family or friends share her curiosity about life and love so tries to find her own path. However, instead of forming more stimulating relationships, she experiences a string of impersonal sexual encounters, becoming more confused than ever and ends up confusing everyone else. I nearly lost empathy with the protagonist myself when she tries to seduce her sister's husband but being a sensible type, he doesn't go for it. After a particularly degrading sexual experience, Iris realises that she does not have to express her energy and grief physically through the `skin', which is a metaphor for her raw sexuality, and decides to become a singer. Rather than turn out to be naturally brilliant, (which would have been corny and unrealistic), she makes the effort to join a local choir (not the X Factor!) and takes lessons.
I loved the soundtrack, which is racy and powerful, and the scene where she expresses her anger and frustration at losing her mother by forcibly seducing a stranger in a cinema plays while simultaneously we see the mother's coffin going into the incinerator. Another nice touch is the fact that we know the story takes place over a very short time because Rose never actually gives birth, the pregnancy itself enhancing the film's theme of life, death and procreation.
I also loved the fact that this is essentially a `woman's' film but without the usual fluff and sop, and any potential bleakness or sentimentality is annihilated by its subtle humour, particularly in the predictability of the frustrating phone calls!