Friday, December 31, 2010

Black Swan Review

I have a feeling this movie is going to fly under the radar until Oscar buzz starts heating up. And when this film takes home a few awards then it will be at the top of Netflix most requested movie rentals and will probably make a decent second run at the box office.
Firstly I want to point out that the advertising for Black Swan is a bit misleading, there is horror in this film but it is absolutely not supernatural in any way. The horror in Black Swan is much more terrifying because it is real and many people suffer from the same symptoms as Nina.
Nina Sayers is young, beautiful, and a talented ballet dancer. She lives in New York City and has a very supportive mother. Nina is motivated to be the best and always gives 110%...all the qualities of a successful person.
The ballet company Nina belongs to is planning a run of Swan Lake and she is trying out for the white swan but in this performance the person who wins the coveted role must also perform as the black swan, the "dark side" of  the white swan. Nina is chosen to the chagrin of some of her peers and is accused of sleeping with Thomas Leroy, the director. In the directors eyes Nina is the empitomy of the white swan; beautiful, pure, fragile....perfect. Unfortunately Nina struggles to capture the essence of the blackswan. At the same time a new member joins the company, Lily. Lily is also a very talented dancer and befriends Nina. The two become close as Nina see's Lily's unrestrained, carefree lifestyle compared to her own overprotective mother and mundane existance as a missing aspect of her own life.
. Nina continues to struggle to prove she is capable of performing the role as the Black Swan and the pressure begins to mount, the pressure to not loose the role she's always dreamt of begins to intensify, nail biting, picking at her scabs, and incessant scratching.
By the end of the film Nina's paranoia overtakes her and she suffers from terrible hallucinations. Against all her obstacles Nina makes it to the show in time and overcomes her fears and pressures and gives the most memorable performance of her life...
We all suffer from life's pressures every day, from homework that's due to stress at work, at home...where ever.
The scary thing about Black Swan is how Nina's stress coupled with her penchant for obsessive compulsive behavior escalated her psychiatric symptoms, including self-mutilation (through scratching her shoulder and picking at her fingers, pulling away scabs) and hints of an eating disorder, all this led to a degree of psychosis via elaborate visual hallucinations fed by paranoia.
Black Swan takes a serious look at how the pressures of life can destroy a person and I'm almost certain anyone who watches this film will be able to relate, to some degree, with Nina. This is definitely NOT a chick flick and I highly recommend this for either men or women to see.
Natalie Portman does a remarkable job in this film and you can see how much she wanted this film to be made through her performance, not to mention she took a pay cut to get it made!
The contrasts between Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman are subtle yet extremely effective, the dance styles, lifestyles, color of their clothes all are purposely due to reflect the two sides.....no not the Jedi and Sith, but the White Swan and Black Swan.
This movie is a must see! Worth the price of admission.
A