Friday, December 15

Black Swan – Movie Review

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Black Swan is the story of a ballerina who lives solely for her art. Trapped in a symbiotic relationship with her mother, an ex-dancer who allegedly abandoned a promising career in order to raise her, the young woman lives a cloistered existence, having no real experience of the world.Her only friends are the stuffed animals kept in her bedroom since her childhood.

I love to be moved, challenged and to loose myself in a movie.  Black Swan was successful in fulfilling these objectives. However, I must admit that after reading the synopsis and movie reviews, I was reticent to see this film, because it seemed to belong to the horror genre.  However, more than five weeks after its release, convinced by Natalie Portman’s win as best actress at the Golden Globes, I went to see it.I did not regret it.  Although I had to look away a few times, I was fascinated by the story.  There is no dead moment; the intrigue is very entertaining and compelling.  Natalie Portman deserves her award and she should also win an Oscar.

From the beginning, the perspective of a ferocious conflict is anticipated.  For the first time in her life, Nina, the character played by Natalie Portman, is seriously considered for a lead role.  To everybody’s surprise, the aging star dancer, played by an aggressive and almost unrecognizable Winona Ryder, is put aside by the artistic director and choreograph. He has confidence Nina can dance the White Swan, but doubts she will be capable of interpreting the sombre side of the part, the Black Swan.  He finds her too tense, too perfectionist, too inexperienced.  A rival dancer (Mila Kunis) seems more apt in interpreting this part of the ballet.  Nina’s nightmare then begins:hallucinations, paranoia, sexual fantasts.  Although I found the coarse language and some of the sex scenes unnecessary, director Daniel Aronofskyeffectively creates an oppressive climate.

This movie depicts a troubling portrait of the world of ballet.  Are all dancers neurotic and anorexic? Are they all obsessed with perfection? Are all former dancers bitter?  This aspect reminded me of The Turning Point.  This film told the story of two women (Anne Bancroft and Shirley Maclaine) who were childhood friends and former competitors. One of them pursues her career while the other one leaves the stage to raise a family.  Let’s go back to the Dark Swan.  Was the portrayal of the artistic director realistic?  We all know that bullies work in every sphere.   Several years ago, following much tumult, the maestro of a Canadian city’s orchestra was shown the door when musicians decided they had endured sufficient years of abusive power.

Some people will argue Black Swan is purely a work of fiction.  Nonetheless, movies often reveal facts that are not far from the truth.

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