Movie Title: Black Swan
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 1 hr. 48 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a dedicated ballet dancer. She works very hard and has a puerile innocence about her character. She lives with her mother and her room is adorned with pink butterfly wallpaper. Her mother is very encouraging, but she cries when she doesn’t have a good audition. Her mother plays a music box to comfort her and strokes her hair. She is also extremely controlling and possessive. When she ultimately earns a part in Swan Lake she is deeply hurt and startled when other people that tried out for the part are jealous. The character is not played like an adult. All the while a wound on Nina’s back gets worse by degrees and she has disturbing visions of wounds in her flesh.
Enter Lily. Lily (Mila Kunis) is a new dancer from San Francisco and is everything that Nina is not. She is wild and reckless. She takes drugs and parties late into the night. She takes a liking to Nina and tries to show her how to loosen up. This gets quite graphic and interesting. Nina is also disturbed by the forced retirement of Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder) that leads to a brutal accident. All of this causes Nina to lose her innocence and abandon her childhood. The wound on her back continues to get worse.
Black Swan is subtly horrifying. The lengths the dancers have to go to reach the top is disturbing. All the while, some of the top performers are just sleeping with the director. The movie has a “me too” quality to it. The dancing is also very impressive from an uncultured point of view such as my own. Portman’s performance is great and Kunis is solid in a smaller role. Vincent Cassel is also fantastic as the deliciously creepy director. The disturbing emphasis and imagery on shoulder blades comes full circle by movies end as Nina’s sanity slips.
Black Swan is like The Wrestler for ballet. Portman’s performance is well done and the movie gets pretty weird. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)