Friday, January 21, 2011

Nightmares of a chronic masterbating ballerina

Black Swan

A- (9.4)

There are two kinds of people in this world who see Black Swan. One of them is the ballerina flick gathering awards buzz for both Darren Arronofsky and Natalie Portman. And then there's that kind who quote:

Oh yeah. That ballerina flick with the lesbian scene with Portman and Mila Kunis. I like that!

That second kind would probably be immature about this flick because this movie had totally rocked my world.

Natalie Portman plays a ballerina named Nina Sayers who is elevating to the top of her professional level as she's about to play the White Swan and the Black Swan for the major play Swan Lake. The White Swan is timid and vulnerable she transform herself into the Black Swan where she's the opposite of the White. However Nina wants to make herself perfect for both roles as she is only pressuring herself to impress the perverted ballet director Tomas (Vincent Cassel) and her stage mother (Barbera Hershey). She is bullied by many of her colleagues of the ballet world because of what she is. Nina then encounters a free spirited newcomer Lily (a really hot Mila Kunis) where she's suspicious of her thinking that's she's aiming for both roles and because of that as she becomes mentally damaged.

Previously, Arronofsky had wanted to make this movie into a companion piece to a mixture of this and The Wrestler where it's a romance between the wrestler and the ballerina. If you have The Wrestler and this movie seperately, Arronofsky might have created a series of dark character studies where you wanted to kill yourself. This may be Arronofsky wanting to do a movie hat is simlar to David Lynch's Mullohand Drive or that movie meets Red Shoes another ballerina film that was generic at its time.

Black Swan is a character study of obviously the ballerina. This is Natalie Portman's most challenging role to date and proves that she's one of the greatest actresses of her generation. Nina Sayers is a conflicted character who's a self-loathing, ballerina damaging herself for her aims to be perfect and to impress people who she feels had let down especially her mother who still treats her like she's 12 year old. She fills herself with riddled jealousy and emotional breakdowns so she can get what she wanted. That is where you should understand her and the troubles she's facing. Portman puts in a powerful performance which lets her character go for a hell of a ride just lke Jodie Foster did with Silence Of The Lambs. She deserved all of the accolades that she had received and it's more likely that she may win her Oscar.

It's great to say that Arronofsky is a great director of actors since his supporting cast is also excellent especially Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis who play provocative players in the game of ballet. Cassel's character is very hard to like and Kunis plays Lily someone Sayers is envious of but they both make a charismatic impact on Sayers' wellbeing. Barbera Hershey is also very good here playing a stage mother who reminds me of Margeret White the overbearing mother from Carrie. But it's Winona Ryder who has a small role as a retiring dancer that steals her scenes to get Sayers out of her emotional level.

Black Swan is has jump-out-of-your-chair moments where it follows the various elements of psychological horror. That subgenre is the most effective out of horror and that is what Arronofsky has done. But be warned. Black Swan is not for the faint of heart if you can't handle moments of sexual pleasure (there's two masterbating scenes and a scene where Portman and Kunis has a lesbian scene) or shocking moments of Portman's well-being.

The choreography is dazzingly well staged as well as the score by Clint Mansell

Arronofsky has put in ambition, jealousy and some moody craftmanship in this masterpiece. Despite the fact that this is the surrealist study of a dancer's angst, the interesting part about this movie is the number of questions I'd been thinking about for the nature of this film and it seems that Arronofsky is trying to send a hint to the audience. Does he want to explore the world of near failures (such as Mickey Rourke from The Wrestler and here in Black Swan) with sexual fantasies and exploration? Is the portrayal of the ballerina accurate given how it;s the pressure that makes Nina tick? What is the meaning of the lesbian scene? And does Sayers has a personality disorder that slowly destroys her?

The ending of the movie seems way too twisted even if it was small. But to me it seems like this is what Sayers would've wanted. But this film had blown me away and needless to say this is one of the scariest experiences I've ever witnessed. This is intense and unpredictable.

But if you want to dismiss it because you think some scenes are way over-the-top. Think about it. You either think it's a generic psychological thriller or how should I think of it. The nightmares of a chronic masterbating ballerina.

To me, black is beauty.


  1. I saw this movie last night. It was not worth my 1.5-2 hours of time or the $ I paid for the ticket. All it shows is her face (up close) constantly, her crappy acting skills, and masturbating constantly, and let's not forget the lesbo scene. This is the typical Hollywood garbage being pushed to pervert everyone's minds in thinking these types of behaviors are the norm.

  2. To the anonymous let me give you three facts of this movie

    Fact I - This is made independently and isn't made by Hollywood

    Fact II - Natalie Portman is not a bad actor (in fact, she would've been good had she was served well in the Star Wars prequels)

    Fact III - The movie is not about some stupid lesbian scene. This is about a ballerina trying to do perfect but instead something supernatural happens.

    So if you try to criticise the movie because of the lesbian scene that just turns you off... then you'll hate it.