I had mixed feelings going into seeing this movie. From all I had read online, a lot of people were talking about. They didn’t know what to make of it. In fact, I had read so much about it online that I very nearly knew the entire movie from start to finish.
The critics were kinda mean about it.
But as I have mentioned, I secretly like the dancing sort of movies. As a little girl, I had secretly wanted to be enrolled in ballet. I think I would have loved it. Not as a career or anything. I think I would end up being more like the prima ballerina from Fantasia than any ballerina worthy of the title of Swan Queen in Swan Lake.
Don’t know who I’m talking about?
Sorry, I had to insert a little levity into this post because the movie Black Swan is not funny, AT ALL. It is dark, twisty, disturbing and so many other things that it made me wonder why I even went to see it at all. But the Stalker wanted to go to the movies and it seemed like the sort of movie we might want to see, especially with all the talk about it.
What is it about?
Without giving too much away…. The story is based around the ballerina, Nina, who belongs to a unnamed ballet academy which is about to start their ballet season with the stunning classic Swan Lake. But the director, a supposed genius, truly wants to strip down the emotions of the story; make it stand out in it’s rawest form. He is aloof and a perfectionist, torturing ballerinas along the way of finding the right one who can embody both the fragile white swan as well as the darkly seductive black swan. In selecting Nina, he hopes to shake up her perfect technique and precision in movement to truly let go for the black swan he needs her to be. But in trying to lose herself to the art of dance, Nina loses herself entirely
Sounds simple enough, no?
I wish I had taken some dramamine before seeing this movie because all the tight shots, twirling dancers and pulsating camera angles were just short of making me lose my lunch. Therefore I had to focus on the story, on the little elements beyond that to be able to watch the movie. I love Natalie Portman as the lead but really I just wanted to feed the girl a hamburger for the whole movie. I suppose all the weight loss helped us see her as a fragile swan, trying to emerge. Her sheltered existence crashes around her, I just wish she hadn’t stayed with that frightened little girl voice for the entirety of the movie.
Mila Kunis was stunning, though I didn’t believe her to be much of a ballerina either. The shots of dancing were obviously body doubles and I wish the movie could have embraced the dancing more throughout rather than just at the end. But I will say that there are gaping holes in the story. There is so much that we have to take on basis of assumption, not because we are shown… for example, Nina’s supposedly perfect technique though we never get to see her dancing much. We catch this movie like a story already in progress but hurtling towards a maddening and fatal finale.
Can you be taken for the ride?
If you let yourself.
But what I like best about the movie is that the ending makes you rethink in a sense what you have just seen for the rest of the time that past before it. It might not be to everyone’s taste. Hence why the movie has gotten such mixed reviews. What it does do is get people talking and thinking.
Can you lose yourself so entirely that the motives no longer matter?
Is passion just a manner of overcoming yourself as your greatest barrier?
Can such fervor ever be controlled or sustained?
Or is the world just set as black and white and to cross it leads to hazy grey madness?
As we were standing to leave at the end of the movie, I think the elderly lady sitting next to me summed up my thoughts the best.
“Wow. Guess I better take being a ballerina off my bucket list.”