Black Swan

A ballet director is mounting a production of Swan Lake and is looking to replace his prima ballerina with a new face, someone who will embody both the innocent White Swan and the sensual Black Swan.  Stunning window into the incredible dedication it takes to be a great dancer, is highlighted by exceptional performances.  Natalie Portman is flawless as Nina Sayers, completely consumed with dance and little else in her life.  She’s fragile and sensitive yet obsessively driven by a desire to be perfect.  She is matched by Mila Kunis as Lily, an uninhibited rival whom Nina is wary of.  She’s even adversely affected by her own domineering mother, a former dancer, chillingly played by Barbara Hershey.  Director Darren Aronofsky’s complex story explores many themes.  This psychological drama flaunts the human aspiration to supplant those at the top of their game, but also the self destructive effects of our own anxiety.  He shows that the line between obsessive ambition and insanity is a fine one.  He keeps the audience guessing as things are not always what they seem in this film.  Sumptuous cinematography simultaneously highlights the beauty of ballet in dizzying sequences, but also the body destroying consequences of it as well.  It’s a viscerally intoxicating mixture, like a hallucinogenic dream that is at once beautiful and horrific.  Ballet is not for the weak.

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14 Responses to “Black Swan”

  1. magnolia12883 Says:

    Opens in my neck of the woods Friday Dec. 10! I’m planning to treat my mom to a special free screening I got two passes two on her birthday Dec. 8 and then see it again this upcoming weekend! :)

  2. This was a magnificent movie. Enjoyed the drama, mystery and acting. Kept my brain working, all the way through. Love movies like this. Highly recommend it.

  3. I really, really want to watch this. It all looks very mysterious, and I love me some Natalie Portman!

    • If you love Natalie Portman, you HAVE to see this. Her best work ever. Better than The Professional, Garden State, or Closer. If she is not nominated, there is no justice.

  4. Well, let’s hope she gets a second nomination, then. I love her in (almost) everything she’s in, especially this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpMPFGBtE7Q :)

  5. magnolia12883 Says:

    LOVED this film from beginning to end, a film pitched at the feverish level of a nightmare from the very start and it just escalates from there… If I had a top 3 this would make the cut – thank goodness I do things alphabetically and it’s in like the top 5 or something like that!

  6. Hi Mark- just saw “Black Swan” tonight. Your review is spot-on!!! This film draws you in and keeps you spinning and whirling and dizzy up to the very end.

  7. Cassie Hill Says:

    Love this movie :) Your review is very helpful :) Thank you :)

  8. Loved this movie also – your review is right on. The director knows how to make the audience feel anxious throughout. All the actors were perfectly cast.

  9. Craig Kuwabara Says:

    Hi Mark, I’m commenting :) I like the way the director includes the uncomfortable moments in his films breath taking. He makes you feel alive with these visions keeping you on edge. Truly enjoyed the acting. The pursuit of perfection is terrifying!!

  10. Hi MarK! I love your blog and am happy to have found it!

    Maybe you read David Denby’s review of this film in the New Yorker awhile ago..He omitted the word “insanity,” something that , in my opinion, figured prominently in Portman’s character and which you mentioned immediately. It seemed to me that she spun further and further out of control, less because of issues of self-worth, ambition and performance pressure and more because of psychological instability. The hand-held camera shots and vertiginous experiences mirrored the character’s psychoses and, for me, though disturbing, seemed essential to my understanding of her experience.

    I agreed much more with your analysis of this film than Denby’s. His review slammed the director for his “self indulgence” and I actually thought he was amazingly brave!

    I look forward to reading more of your stuff!!

    • Yay, you found me! I finally did get around to reading Denby’s review and I must say I am glad I have already seen the film. He writes well, but plot points that are fun to discover upon watching the film for the first time, are ruined by his review. He obviously hated the movie, which is acceptable (even though he is wrong) but to give so much away is unforgivable. These types of reviews are exactly why I write the way I do. Thanks again for reading. Many more reviews to come!

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