Black Swan is a new psychological thriller, brought to you by Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman as a perfectionist ballerina who lands the main role in a remake of “Swan Lake”.
“Swan Lake” is basically a ballet about a princess who falls in love with a prince, only to be turned into a white swan. To get rid of the curse, she needs to find true love’s kiss. However, the prince she loves is seduced by the black swan and the white swan ends up killing herself. Usually, the swan parts are played by two different actors. But in Black Swan, the director of the struggling ballet institute wanted to have the same person play both roles, possibly to show the dueling sides of humanity. Natalie Portman’s character, Nina, excels at being the White Swan. But her frigid, perfectionist self makes it hard for her to be the Black Swan, seductive and darkly sensual. The movie is her becoming the Black Swan.
As many of you know already, Natalie Portman is getting major award buzz for her role in this. She has won almost every award this season for her role in this movie and deservedly so. She gives an intense, haunting performance of a girl breaking out of her shell on so many levels that she’s not herself anymore. The movie itself can be considered simply as Portman’s vehicle. She is the fragile ballerina who is, for lack of better words, losing it. And she loses it perfectly.
I remember sitting dumbfounded after watching this. I haven’t watched it since. But it’s one of those movies that leave you in shock by the end. You don’t want them to end. You want to see what happens next, what kind of twisted psychological game Aronofsky has up his sleeve. And this is exactly what this movie is. A huge twisted psychological maze that is so open to interpretation that my friends and I cannot even agree on who the villain in this movie is, if there’s a villain in the first place. Some say it’s Nina’s mother – a woman who had to give up her dreams of becoming a ballet icon to raise her daughter and is now trying to live her dream through Nina – or Nina herself, with her Black Swan alter ego.
Others say that it’s Lily, the character portrayed by Mila Kunis. Lily is a newcomer to the ballet institute and she can be the perfect Black Swan. She doesn’t worry about the perfection of her moves, she doesn’t care about anything basically. She just lets go. And soon enough, Nina begins to feel threatened by Lily. Or is she?
Mila Kunis gives a pretty remarkable performance. She did not get an Oscar nomination for her role, although she got a golden globe nod and lost to Melissa Leo.
All in all, this is a movie with acting of extraordinary power. And if the hair on your neck don’t stand up when the last movie of the movie comes up, then there’s something really wrong.
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