Like The Wrestler in a way, just not as fun.
Black Swan (2010)
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream)
You know I’m a big fan of Darren Aronofsky. I loved Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler. I liked Pi, and I’ve never seen The Fountain BUT I made it a point to finally see Black Swan. I think most people my age grew up having a thing for Natalie Portman ever since we saw her in Star Wars episode 1. And Mila Kunis doesn’t hurt either, even if she totally took part in the raping of American Psycho with it’s lame ass sequel she starred in. But none the less, we have the ballet here on display, and apparently it’s got a dark side just like everything else. All we need now is a movie about the dark side of movie blogging…Don’t anyone go steal my idea now.
Nina (played by Portman) has dedicated her entire life to the ballet. She’s part of a New York City ballet company and they are looking for a new Swan Queen for their upcoming play. As this happens a new girl, Lily, arrives in class (played by Kunis) just in time to become the biggest competition for Nina. The thing is, 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 an overbearing mother at home and pressure in her performance on, Nina has all she needs to be motivated for both. But how far will letting herself go take her?
One thing about Darren Aronofsky is he sure knows how to pull the dark side out of everything he does a film about. There’s an old saying, “This isn’t ballet”, that people tend to use to describe whenever something isn’t easy. After seeing this and seeing a whole other side of ballet, I don’t think people will be using that term. It’s not all standing on toes and looking pretty. There’s a massive pressure to look and be a certain way. There’s major jealousy between everyone. And these people go to great lengths to fight off age and competition. This movie does a fine job of capturing all of that. If nothing else, after seeing this film I don’t think you will ever look at this stuff the way again.
While I do think the film is GOOD, I don’t think I find it as great as everyone makes claims for it to be. I give Natalie Portman credit for bringing a good performance like she always brings to her films, but I don’t think she was great in the role, just good. The films builds up enough drama as it needs to in order to keep you interested. You have moments of questioning just what is up with Nina and just what is going on in the film. But mostly once things come to a head you just find yourself thinking, “Oh? Well, that’s interesting” instead of wanting to stand up, clap your hands, and say, “WOW! Bravo! That was awesome!”. While it’s good, and some stuff is a little hard to watch and uncomfortable to see on screen, you just never get emotionally invested into the film like you did with The Wrestler, so I think Aronofsky takes a step back here. A small step back, but a step back none the less.
Also, if I MUST complain about something else it would be I did not like the ending at all. I didn’t like the end of The Wrestler either for the record. I have no idea why a lot of the best directors out there today seem to have such issues ending their films, but it seems to happen a lot as of late. I like a solid ending. One that doesn’t leave you hanging or make you say, “Hmmm?”. There are films for stuff like that, films where that sorta ending works, I didn’t think Black Swan was one of those films. But besides the ending, I still stand by the idea that the film is entertaining in a lot of ways and an overall good film. It’s just not great like most people have you to believe.
I liked most his other films better, but Darren Aronofsky doesn’t give us a bad film here. If you like taking a look at the more evil side of a profession that most talk of in a very grand fashion then here you go with Black Swan. Natalie Portman is always good on screen but I think I’d rank her performance in stuff like Closer higher than I would this performance here. Still. Black Swan is very much a film worth your time, it is overrated, but it is good.
The Rating (7.5/10)