Jonathan Salemi’s documentary, Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy, portrays the phoenix rebirth of cosmetic chemist Vince Spinnato. After losing his parents, his dog, his health and a devastating breakup with his fiancée, Vince Spinnato’s life has changed in the worst possible way. Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy begins with Spinnato’s attempt to resurrect her life and career by launching her own skincare line, Caviar & Diamond.
In his youth, Spinnato fell in love with the classic television show, Dynasty. Following the exploits of the wealthy and ruthless Carrington family, Spinnato was determined to one day live the lifestyle of the fictional Carringtons. Spinnato discovered that he had an aptitude for chemistry. His innate talent led him to create perfumes and creams for the rich and famous, including Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Jordan. Spinnato’s rise was fast and furious, and he quickly achieved his “dream”. Unfortunately, Spinnato also lived this stereotypical party lifestyle, which fell apart after the death of his parents.
After many therapies and reflections on himself, Spinnato is ready to return to his former life and to take this same path paved with the traps of his past. Throughout the film, Spinnato talks about this new perspective he had to adopt in life and the struggle he must face to return. He still wants to live the party life he grew accustomed to as an affluent young gay man in Los Angeles, but realizes he has to work to avoid the pitfalls of sex, drugs and alcohol. . He also has health issues, including an illness that causes him to constantly pull his hair out.
“…has a brilliant ability to translate his customers’ vague ideas about a scent or sensation in chemical reality.
On the other hand, Spinnato is a brilliant chemist. Spinnato’s colleagues and other cosmetic industry notables, including Damone Roberts and Geoff Ross, testify to this fact. The documentary goes to great lengths to show how Spinnato became so influential and wealthy through cosmetics. He understands the ins and outs of all the ingredients and has a brilliant ability to translate his clients’ vague ideas about a scent or sensation into chemical reality. Now, for the first time, Spinnato is stepping out from behind its famous client and branding its own line of products, a skin cream that takes the form of caviar eggs.
Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy is a compelling documentary in a unique way. It’s often hard to watch a documentary about a guy who’s way richer than you. Yet Spinnato was an ordinary guy from New Jersey who turned his genius into a fortune. Yes, he struggled with the pitfalls of instant fame and money, and we can connect to his struggle with loneliness after losing his parents.
As a documentary, Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy has that independent documentary feel. Vince is basically tracked by a single camera, and the talking interviews are pretty straightforward with straightforward setups. It’s a stark contrast to the more professional documents of Hollywood’s big machine. Ironically, Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy tonally feels like a low budget episode of Lifestyles of the rich and famous. Sure, it looks “cheap”, but it works with the overall story.
Let’s face it. It’s hard to sell a movie about a rich man, and at the end of the day, his wealth and his pursuit of very noble dreams can be that tipping point between watching and not watching. Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy. The saving grace of the movie is that Spinnato is an average guy who earned his wealth and struggled through life the same way we do. Spinnato is also a charismatic man with very personal demons that he had to overcome.
For more information on Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacyvisit the official Vince Spinnato website.