6 feb. 2011

My Review: Black Swan (9/10)

¨It`s about a girl who gets turned into a swan and she needs love to break the spell, but her prince falls for the wrong girl, so she kills herself.¨

If there is any justice in the world then Natalie Portman should win the Oscar for her leading role as Nina. She has to win; her performance in Black Swan is by far the best of the year. She is just incredible in this film and the transformation her character experiences in order to become the Black Swan is just amazing. I can`t think of any other performance from any actress this year that can compare to this one because the entire movie revolves around her. The rest of the characters are all secondary, she is the only lead and star of the film. I just hope Natalie Portman didn`t have to go through all the psychological torture that her character had to go through in order to become the black swan. I would`ve never thought that a film about ballerinas could be so gruesome, raw, and full of psychological and sexual tension. This is the scariest film I`ve seen this year, and the only person who can pull off a movie like this is Darren Aronofsky. In order to direct a film of this caliber, one has to be completely submersed and passionate about the project, and Aronofsky has always proven he`s totally dedicated to his work (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and The Wrestler were all great and difficult films to make). Black Swan is a different kind of movie and probably will divide audiences because it isn`t a film for everyone, but if I have to compare it to any of Aronofsky`s previous films I would say it resembles The Wrestler. Mickey Rourke resurrected his career in that film playing a washed up wrestler. He had his glory days, he was passionate about his profession and didn`t know how to let go. Natalie Portman plays a ballerina in Black Swan, she`s also passionate about her craft and completely dedicated to it. Both of these characters lives revolve around their profession, Mickey is at the exit point of his career, while Natalie is just now trying to make it to the top of hers.  As different as these professions may seem, the physical and psychological pressure to succeed is the same.

Nina (Portman) is about to get the role of her dreams: Being both the white and the black swan from an adaptation of Tchaikovsky`s ballet ¨Swan Lake.¨ She has been working endlessly for an opportunity like this and when director, Thomas (Vincent Cassel), considers her as the new lead she doesn`t want to miss her shot. He has decided that it is time to find a new prima ballerina since Beth (Winona Ryder) is getting old and her career is coming to an end. Nina is one of his best and most dedicated dancers. He knows that she would make an excellent white swan due to her perfect form and technique, but she doesn`t seem to have what it takes to become the black swan. In order for the transformation to take place, Thomas insists that she loosen up and let her feelings guide her. A new ballerina named Lily (Mila Kunis) shows up and suddenly becomes a threat for Nina because she is so free and confident, everything the black swan should be. Her technique isn`t as good as Nina`s, but she sees her as a threat nonetheless and at the same time she also becomes fascinated with her. Lily represents everything that Nina has repressed her entire life, she seems to be the opposite of her and that is exactly what she needs in order to become the black swan. Nina begins to lose herself in the role, and the fine line between reality and fantasy becomes blurry.

One character I didn`t mention in the plot is Nina`s mother (played by Barbara Hershey), who is really scary and over controlling. She has definitely played a big role in Nina`s life and shaped her character. Nina is a very insecure perfectionist, but she won`t let anything stop her from getting the lead role. She begins to push herself so hard into trying to become the black swan that her life begins to get out of control. The entire cast is great in this film, but Portman steals the show. The psychological torture she goes through is perfectly captured by Aronofsky. The score is amazing and plays a huge role in building the suspense and tension as well as the cinematography of the film. Every shot is just perfectly executed. I couldn`t help but cringe every time I saw those extreme close ups of the ballerinas feet, of their nails being cut, and so on. If I ever have a daughter it`s really going to make me think twice before letting her take ballet classes. Aronofsky has completely changed my perception about ballerinas. Black Swan is a really bizarre, but great film. I recommend seeing it in the theater because the sound and cinematography in this film is just amazing. It’s one of those movies in which larger and louder can make a huge difference in the viewing experience. Aronofsky is completely in control of his craft and delivers a terrific film. This is my favorite film of his so far.

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