The Black Swan – Director: Darren Aronofsky
OK, I’ll start by saying movies regarding ballerinas are not my thing, by a long shot. But this sounded strange enough to be appealing, and it is by the director of “Pi” and “Requiem For A Dream”, so off to see it I went.
Natalie Portman plays an aspiring ballet star, Nina, who is seemingly more concerned with being technically perfect than showing much emotion. She lives with her mother (as played by Barbara Hershey), and while her mother is supportive, she is also rather overprotective. And that’s an understatement. Apparently mom was an aspiring ballet star herself, until she found herself pregnant with Nina, after which her career was over.
Vincent Cassell plays Thomas, who is putting on a new production of “Swan Lake”. He wants his star to play both the role of The White Swan and The Black Swan, and Nina is in the running for the roles, but he thinks she’s too passive and nice to pull it off. Enter a sort of “punk” ballerina, Lily (played by Mila Kunis), from San Francisco. She’s got tattoos, she likes to party, and she’s also in the running for the role. Nina finally gets the kick in the tutu she needs to prove she’s not the sheltered little girl she appears to be and lands the role.
Nina does, however, seem to be experiencing some issues. At first, the viewer probably thinks that what they’re seeing is really happening, but as the film goes along, doubt begins to creep in, and one realizes that Nina seems to be losing her mind. And the film gets to the point where the viewer does not know what’s real and what’s imagined. Did she murder a rival? Is she really losing pieces of her skin? No doubt you won’t question whether she’s really suffering from an outbreak of pin feathers, because by then you’ll have realized that she is stark-raving looney-tunes.
What is not imagined though, is that Nina does manage to give the performance of her life, but she has managed to also do something to herself that may have made it her last performance, and at that point the film is over so things are left unresolved.
I did not know where the film was headed for a while, but at some point it began to get rather strange, and while the subject matter is not normally anything I’d be interested in, I have to say this was a very intriguing film once it got going, and it’s definitely odd enough to be appealing. At this point in time, it’s still playing in theaters, so don’t throw it in your Netflix queue just yet.