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Movie Review: BLACK SWAN

Movie Review Black Swan by Joey Paur

Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan was an insanely beautiful film! I was really looking forward to this movie, and it absolutely blew me away. It had me locked in from the very beginning with this incredible opening ballet dream sequence. From there on out the movie escalated into a maddening thriller of complete and utter awesomeness.

The film revolves around the ballet, but don’t let that keep you from seeing the movie if you’re not into that kind of thing. This movie is extremely intense, and the ballet dance sequences are solidly powerful.  I’ve never been into ballet, but it didn’t keep me from loving this haunting psychological thriller. After watching this film I gained a new found respect for the art of ballet. 

The movie follows the story of Nina (Natalie Portman), 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 retired ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who zealously supports her daughter’s professional ambition. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Mila 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 with a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

Natalie Portman was absolutely brilliant in this film. She seriously gave the best performance of her career, and she deserves to win the Oscar for Best Actress. I'll be pissed if she doesn't win! It was by far the best female performance I’ve seen this year. Her character starts out so innocent, but through that innocence you can tell that she’s broken.

Nina ends up getting the lead role as the Swan Queen in the ballet Swan Lake. There are two parts to this Swan Queen role, the innocent White Swan, and the seductively evil Black Swan. She’s got the White Swan down perfectly, but it’s the Black Swan who she needs to find within her. As she is preparing for the role, her life becomes engulfed in nightmarish fantasies, obsession, jealousy, and dark impulses until the darkness completely consumes her.

Watching Portman go through this intense transformation is incredible. She literally is playing two different roles in this film, and it’s quite a sight to see, especially when she explodes into the Black Swan. Once this dangerous darkness erupts within her she becomes seductively sexy. She went through a great deal of work to prepare for this role, and any awards she gets for this role are well deserved.

As far as Cassel, Kunis, and Hershey are concerned they all did one hell of a great job in their roles. The whole cast was just captivating to watch up on the big screen. They all play roles in the story that help fuel the fire within the character Nina, and lead her down the road to Swan Lake hell. 

I found it incredibly interesting that the film actually serves as a companion piece to Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. In a previous interview he explained saying, “Some people call wrestling the lowest of art forms and some call ballet the highest of art forms, yet there is something elementally the same. Mickey Rourke as a wrestler was going through something very similar to Natalie Portman as a ballerina. They’re both artists who use their bodies to express themselves and they’re both threatened by physical injury, because their bodies are the only tool they have for expression. What was interesting for me was to find these two connected stories in what might appear to be unconnected worlds.”

When you see Black Swan you’ll see for yourself how much it’s like The Wrestler. In my opinion Black Swan is a much better film.  I was really into the supernatural psychological/psychosexual type elements and the beautifully dark imagery.

I loved Aronofsky’s direction in the film. He had such an incredible vision for this story.  He’s so talented when directing his actors, he's able to get the best out of every actor he worked with in this film, but the way he directed the dance sequences was extraordinary. I was just in awe while watching them, especially in the grand finale - that was really something special. 

I highly recommend you watch this movie when it's released. It’s seriously one of the best movies of the year and a must see for any film lover. I really don't have anything negative to say about it, I just can't wait to watch it again. 

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