the black swan

by Mindy @ Just A One Girl Revolution on June 21, 2011

in Reviews


I know I’m late to the game on this one, but I’ve had The Black Swan on my “to watch” list for AGES, yet never got around to it.  There was so much hype surrounding its release that I really wanted to see what it was all about.  I felt like it was a people loved it or hated it kind of movie.  I’ve had it sitting around from Netflix for close to two weeks and finally sat down to watch it.

Darren Aronofsky, the director, has a reputation for chilling, beautifully made films and before this was released to theaters, it was rumored to be another of the same.  In my opinion, he didn’t disappoint with this film.

Natalie Portman stars as Nina Sayers, a star ballerina in a New York City company, who is cast in the leading role of her company’s production of Swan Lake.  In the role, she must play both the White Swan and the Black Swan.  As the White Swan, she must dance in a very precise, pristine style in a role that represents purity, innocence, and grace.  Throughout the production, she transitions into the Black Swan, who is much more raw and dark.

Nina is unbelievably driven in her dance and her determination to dance both roles as they were meant to be portrayed pushes her to insanity, perhaps even towards a level nearing multiple personality/schizophrenia.  In the beginning of the film, she is the picture perfect ballerina.  As she rehearses her new role, she begins to personify the character of the Black Swan.

There are several key people who contribute towards her transformation:  Thomas Leroy, the show’s director; Lily, a newcomer to the company who’s personality is one that aligns with the Black Swan and is a threat to take her starring role; Erica Sayers, her mother and a former ballerina who epitomizes the idea of a stage mother.  Each in their own way, these three push Nina to embrace, even become, the Black Swan.

It is a tough movie to watch, at least in certain parts, I won’t deny that.  Many of the scenes in the more schizophrenic moments were very raw, very intense.  There were scenes I found myself cringing and at points had to look away.  Yet despite that, for all the talk surrounding the film, the most controversial scenes weren’t as horrible as I was anticipating them to be.  It was a film that left me thinking and stuck with me far after it ended, though.  What was real, what wasn’t, and so on.

Aronofsky created a fantastic drama, but moreover, a beautiful piece of art.  Even more so, Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Nina Sayers was so haunting, so spot on.  Although her role in the film was brief, Winona Ryder also gave a stunning performance as Beth MacIntyre, the former principal dancer in the company whom  Nina replaces.

In the loved it or hated it debate, I am definitely on the loved it side.

Have you seen The Black Swan?  What did you think, did you love or hate it?

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