Movie Review – Black Swan

I guess I should start by saying that this movie is not for everyone.  I definitely get the impression that you will either love it, or HATE it.  I actually came down on the former side, so let’s get to it.

To begin with, Black Swan is the story of Nina, a ballerina who aspires to a leading role.  And while her technique is flawless, she really lacks the soul for anything dramatic.  The sheltered girl still lives with her mother – a former ballerina herself – and sleeps in a pink room filled with stuffed animals.

Finally her chance comes to play White Swan/Black Swan, and she begins to crack under the pressure.  Be warned, hallucinations, drug use, profanity, masturbation, and same-sex escapades ensue, among other things.

Aaaaaand that’s all I’ll tell you about the plot.

So what did I think?  Short answer: I LOVED it.  Absolutely everything about it.  It was terrifying, not so much in a “things jumping out at you making you scream” kind of way (though it has several of those moments), but in a disturbing, haunting way that will stay with you after you’ve left the theater.  It was beautiful.  I mean, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis aside, it’s beautifully shot, has gorgeous ballet (though thankfully less dancing than I expected), and just a really moving plot.  I never thought I would be so engaged in a movie about Swan Lake.

To go more in depth, I thought that Natalie Portman’s performance was amazing.  She obviously plays cute and innocent really well.  Her portrayal of naive, shy, and repressed Nina is spot-on in my opinion.  And in the flashes she gets of her own dark side, I think she is equally believable.  What’s impressive to me however, is her growth from one to the other.  The transition stages.  Add to that the all-consuming panic she has to show as her mind slowly (although sometimes abruptly) descends into full-tilt madness, and I think she at least deserves an Oscar nomination.

Mila Kunis is equally talented at playing a counter to Natalie’s coquette.  Every bit as graceful on stage, she brings the sense of fun and passion the film really needs.  And while her role is relatively small, and her character somewhat annoying at times, she really brings it, and I totally support her Golden Globe nom (although Oscar might be pushing it).

As far as the ending goes, I think it’s flawless.  Not everything gets answered (like what really happens to Beth – randomly portrayed by Winona Rider).  The sex and drug stuff might offend some, but I think was really crucial in helping Nina find her inner Black Swan, or really just growing up in general.

I don’t know that this was “Best Picture” material, because I haven’t seen many of the other likely contenders, but I certainly think it deserves a nomination.  And I would recommend this movie to anyone not likely to get offended by the “morally questionable content.”

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