No one does crazy better than Darren Aronofsky. I saw the director’s cut of Requiem for a Dream and was in a funk for a week. I also threw up due to the sheer turmoil of it all. It’s pretty gore free. But it is an extremely well made film telling a very ugly tale.
So when I saw the trailer for Black Swan, I knew I had to see it. Of course, it wasn’t coming to my little town. (The lesbian scene would upset the Bible Belters).
Finally on the first day of 2011, I saw it.
The plot is fairly simple: Nina Sayers, an overprotected, innocent, fragile woman obsessed with ballet, is selected to be the Swan Queen in her ballet company’s production of Swan Lake. The Swan Queen is a role where the dancer plays two parts, the White Swan and her evil twin the Black Swan. The dirty old man director thinks she is innocent and controlled enough to be the White Swan but doesn’t have the sexuality and looseness to be the Black Swan. He attempts to remedy this situation by sexually harassing Nina.
Of course, Nina has issues and an uber controlling mother. She may or may not have a grip on reality. She is also the narrator of this tale. This is where the fun begins for Aronofsky and the viewer.
So while watching, the viewer has to wonder, “what is real? is she making this up? What was that?”
This movie uses a lot of mirrors and there the use of color with characters wearing black representing “bad” and characters wearing white representing “good.” The whole thing reminded me of the Jungian concept of the “Shadow self” from my psychology classes in college. In fact, after getting back and googling the thing, I was reminded that the shadow is considered the “seat of creativity.” Also, someone else has already addressed the shadow as presented in Black Swan.
So how much is intended to be merely a visual metaphor for the internal struggle between facets of Nina’s personality and how much is in Nina’s mind in the way of her having hallucinations and how much is reality? That’s the sixty four thousand dollar question folks.
I was fascinated by this film and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It isn’t nearly as dark and depressing as Requiem for a Dream. The part of Nina is a “role of a lifetime” for an actress and Natalie Portman pulls it off masterfully. She is phenomenal and the Oscar talk is not hype. I will be stunned and disappointed if she is not nominated. I was pleasantly surprised to see Winona Ryder acting again even if her part consisted solely of having a nervous breakdown. The dirty old man director was good but I’m not sure he was “old” enough. Without the old, you might just think he’s just stupid enough to think harassing the girl would bring the desired result. Mila Kunis can act. She can definitely act better than Ashton Kulcher so there you go.
I am glad I saw this movie and give it a thumbs up.