Feb 13, 2011

Black Swan, 2010

Black Swan, 2010
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel

Stage: Local theatre, a very late show :)

Black Swan in short: Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

Preps: Uf, a lot of good critics again. And a lot of friends already seeing this and voting I should definitely go and catch this one. When my spanish teacher, astounded that I haven't seen this yet, yields for breath because she has seen this prior to me (and I am supposed to be a critic telling or advising sometimes to her what to see), well, I see it's the time to go and see it. Am not familiar with the story, but all the people I know and have seen it are convinced that it's the movie of the year.

Reality: Well, once after a long time, the movie leaves me with my mouth wide open. The power with which it's made, it's definitely beyond imagination. The wild creatures luring inside her body and mind are so excellently shown when being wild on the run, that I spare my next breath just to catch the every bit of this movie. It could be made in any environment. In this sense I mean, that it's not a movie about a ballerina, being pushed for the lead role beyond her wildest capabilities. It's a movie about a strong mother-daughter relationship that urges the need to be successful to the limit where it can hurt all the people involved. And can mess with your head completely. Bringing out the mean you when all you want to have is a good you, acknowledged and nurtured. Sometimes just padded on the head and saying to you you did a good job.

The relationship is barely understandable to an average person. How can a person beyond her 20-ies, be so unindependent? How can she let her mother to tuck her in, give her nail cut, do her hair, her clothes, make her breakfast? It is extremely hard to pull in your lungs the idea that your parent is living through you. She doesn't let her daughter breathe even a bit and the minute she does, she punishes her severely. Or does she? Half of the movie is left to your imagination. What really happened? Who really died and who got hurt? What are the strange things growing out of her back and are they really growing or is this also a fragment of Nina's imagination?

The mindgame that the director plays with the spectator, is amazing. In no time you can be quite certain what is going on and what is Nina really doing. The only certain thing is the dance she's executing, in some sense, the life that goes by even without us being present there in our minds or in physics. For all the other stuff, the viewer can be really confused. I was certain to some point Nina commited a murder. After 20 minutes you see it's all in her head and the person she really hurt, was herself.

Up to where will we go to nurture our parent's dreams and when will you stand up against them? The question remains unanswered, as the ending is left to the viewer. Does Nina die or is this also in her imagination? Are we supposed to go after we fulfill our main wish (or the wish of our surroundings, our parents) - in this case, the perfect execution of the Swan Lake?
There are several excellent side stories, going along with the main one. The fight for life among ballerinas. The power you find within to do all the best even if it hurts and even if you can break and fall dead afterwards. The sexual dilemmas while being in the show business. Gay inspired dreams (lesbian) while trying to relax (or to be satisfied at least when having your eyes closed?)

Who is really the young lady she sees in her pervert dreams, when she's masturbating? And why is she there.. in the first place? There are a lot of questions, that remain unanswered, but beyond any doubt, this is one of the masterpieces of the last year. Portman does an excellent job and would deserve an oscar for this. My deepest recommendation. I found some hidden parts of my soul in this movie, and it touched me deeply.

My personal rating: 9,0 (a movie that will make you think even a long time after you see it. And a lot of philosophy of relations involved in this, too.)

Black Swan on IMDB

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