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Black Swan

January 31, 2011

The story revolves around Natalie Portman’s character Nina. Nina is a ballet dancer in a New York City ballet company, and her life is completely devoted to dancing. She lives with her controlling ex-ballerina mother Erica (played by Barbara Hersey) and is exactly what her mother wants her to be. Vincent Cassel’s character Thomas is the artistic director of the company and chooses Nina to be his next prima ballerina, replacing the former prima named Beth, played by Winona Ryder (yea, I know…didn’t think she was doing movies anymore either). Thomas announces that the company’s next season will begin with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. For those not familiar with Swan Lake, the main character (The Swan Queen) needs to embody the White Swan and Black Swan. Nina is the embodiment of the White Swan, delicate, sweet and innocent. Unfortunately, the Black Swan needs to be the opposite, she needs to be seductive and embody all that is sensual and wrong. At this point Lilly, played by Mila Kunis, steps in. She’s a new dancer to the company from San Francisco and is the human representation of the Black Swan. The two dancers become rivals forcing Nina to learn to shed her innocence and embrace her dark side.

Simply stated, this film blew me away! Natalie Portman’s portrayal of the perfectionist ballerina was absolutely convincing. She embraced and became that character and did it very well. The same can be said about Mila Kunis. She looks the part, walks and talks the part of the rebel and the chemistry between the two actors on screen is nothing short of magical. The story line can be described as absolutely beautiful in a sick and sadistic manner. Nina’s journey into her dark side takes the viewer on roller coaster ride filled with twists, turns and moments where you are literally asking yourself, how far can someone really go to achieve perfection? Darren Arnofsky, the director, has built a career around making films that leave you questioning the psychology of the world that we live in. His earlier films such as Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler are perfect examples of that. This time around you’re left with a list of some of the same questions about how dark the human psyche is willing to go to achieve what it wants.

Overall, I highly recommend this film. It was well put together, well directed and very worthy of the Golden Globe Nominations that it received (Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress). In short, if you don’t see this film, you better have a damn good reason because you’ll be missing out on one of the best films to come out of 2010.

-Walter

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