Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Runtime: 103 Minutes
Never has ballet ever been so intriguing to me. “Black Swan” is a beautifully crafted film that will either emotionally move you or hate it. For me, it is the emotionally moving part. The film is so touching and Natalie Portman’s performance was nothing short of breath taking. The year 2010 was a reasonably promising year and this is one of the best from it. There is a great collaboration of actors and great direction from Darren Aronofsky in this melodramatically beautiful film.
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.
I am not the biggest Natalie Portman fan but her performance here is phenomenal. 80% of the dancing we see is actual Portman and she even lost weight for this role. This is one of the best female performances of the decade because of her effort and dedication. She was breath taking at times and made a great protagonist.
Aronofsky is a new director to me and I was impressed with what he done here. The way the film unfolded was terrific and often had you questioning the hallucinations which Nina begins seeing. The film is known as a psychological thriller, and it times it really does thrill you. One scene shows Nina in the bathroom at the sink and she notices something wrong with her nail. She pulls the skin of her finger right back and we see a big string of skin being peeled, then suddenly we revert to reality. Aronofsky is a promising director and should likely make more great films in the future.
I think the major factor of the film is the story, which is vicarious, brash and very exciting. When you reach the end of the film, you will notice that the film revolves around what Nina is preparing to dance to- Swan Lake. The story of Swan Lake is about a princess who turns in to a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The rest you will discover for yourself in the film. It may appear as predictable which will be a distraction from enjoying the rest of the film, but I think the idea of projecting a famous ballet composition in to film was a clever and very fresh idea.
The dancing in the film was moving and electrifying. The first half of the film makes you appreciate the art of dance more as we see the strenuous effort and work that is put into rehearsals and practice. Furthermore, with the fact we follow our main character who is a ballet dancer, you get the sense of emotion to it all. When it comes to the film’s beautiful finale, you may or may not be touched by the elegance of dance. Like ballet itself, the film is not for everyone.
Throughout the entire film, you will be thrilled and confused by the hallucinations and delusions Nina has. They all look at the mentality and pressure Nina is going through which makes them highly entertaining to watch. One really grabs you and makes you think in no doubt that it is reality, but soon after you think differently. However, there is still a possibility it was reality. I sound quite incoherent but when you watch the film, you will know exactly what I am talking of. Not to spoil anything, it involves lesbianism.
Touching, exciting and captivating is a good way to put “Black Swan”. It is filled with energy and character as well as having some beautiful ballet music along the way. “Black Swan” is one of the best films of 2010 and should not disappoint. The story is gripping, the characters fulfilling and the film has a mesmerizing quality that intoxicates you, which makes it very special.
My Rating: 9/10