Monday, May 2, 2011

movie: Black Swan

The movie this weekend was Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman as Nina.

Nina is a very innocent and naïve professional dancer with a bit of a self-mutilation problem. She desperately wants to play Odette in Swan Lake. She gets the part.

The artistic director thinks her White Queen dances are perfect. However, she also has to dance as Odette's evil twin, Odile the Black Swan. She has trouble with that role because it's supposed to be seductive, dark and imperfect. She struggles to find the darker part of herself. Then it begins to consume her.

Mila Kunis is Lily, a new dancer with a wild streak. She shows up late for rehearsals and seems to embody the Black Swan. She befriends Nina and tries to get her to loosen up by taking her out to drink and such.

Another dark character is Beth (Winona Ryder), the mentally unstable ballerina whom Nina replaces. Nina is fascinated by her because she is a great dancer, but also because she represents the downfall Nina knows she could suffer.

The movie itself is like an evil twin for the ballet world we see from the outside. The audience gets a clean and graceful finished production more often than not, I imagine. Backstage is significantly grittier. There are horrific foot injuries, ballerina bitchiness, and the vast amounts of stress. The movie filming is grainy and rough and captures these aspects very well.

Special effects and Portman's performance convey Nina's mental distress in vivid and original ways. Black Swan is awesome. A

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