I really wish someone would've warned me that this was a psychological thriller. It was a great film and for reasons I'll explain in a subsequent post, it hit freakishly close to home. Still, there were several cringe-worthy parts that I just couldn't bear to watch.
Black Swan stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a budding ballerina who pushes and pushes herself toward perfection, namely the Swan Queen role for her company's Swan Lake production. Thing is the person who lands the role must be able to play both sides to the queen and while Nina embodies the innocence of the White Swan, Lily (played by Mila Kunis), a feisty new rival, is the epitome of sensuality and seduction, the Black Swan personified. What develops (or deteriorates) in Nina over the course of the film made me squirm not only because of the gnarly bits but because for two hours I felt like I was watching pieces of my own life play out on the screen.
The movie presents an honest psychological portrait of a girl under tremendous stress: an overprotective mother who lives out her short-lived dancing days through her daughter, the all-consuming power ballet has over Nina and the physical and mental toll it all takes on her. Yes, there's a hot scene between Portman and Kunis and I'm sure many of you have heard about the movie through that vein, but the movie is so much deeper than that. In fact, even that part had some importance to the story line. (Don't you just hate it when sex is thrown in just for the attention?)
From the beginning, the movie is in your face. The close-up shots almost feel uncomfortable and I just wanted some distance between the characters and me, but it only intensifies as the plot grows darker. Still, as much as I hate being scared and grossed out, I enjoyed the film for its story, direction and incredible acting. Nina's role seemed hard to pull off convincingly, but Portman made it so believable.
Then again, I'm probably completely biased because when you relate to a character as much as I did, you're pretty much sold as soon as you feel that connection with them and Portman dragged me with her almost to the very end.
Black Swan: 5/5 Toasties