I had been greatly anticipating Natalie Portman’s new film, Black Swan, and I was very excited that I got to see the midnight premier. Since then the film has completely infiltrated my mind, I have been contemplating its complexities and dark, twisted story. The story is of a girl, Nina, who is a dedicated ballerina and it is basically a gradual recession to insanity through paranoia and other elements. I was completely blown away by the movie. I thought Natalie Portman did an amazing job and I definitely wanted to see it when I heard she had studied intensively just so she could do the role. She did all the dancing herself, except for a few sequences… but for an actor to give that much dedication for a role must be incredible.
In the past I have studied ballet myself so I know what the life of a dancer is like. I never led that life, but I knew other girls who did. Dancing inhabits every part of your life and you have to completely dedicate yourself. Following the main character through the whole ups and downs of a dancer was so insightful. I find that it was truly accurate and I think a lot of dancers probably break down in some way because the pressure and stakes are so high. Every element of a dancer’s world is thrown into the movie: the overbearing stage mother who lives vicariously through her daughter’s success, the rival dancers, the dance director who has a ‘thing’ for the lead…it is all there and all done very well. The story is a gradual progression to complete insanity, there are only small hints in the beginning that leads to Nina’s breakdown and then there is something that happens that makes her go absolutely crazy. It really does mess with your mind; at the end you are sitting there as you hear the echo of an audience’s applause and the credits are rolling you are wondering, ‘What did I just see?’
I can’t decide if I love the movie because I recognize it as a brilliant film, or if I love it, love it…like as a whole. Because there were some parts that really freaked me out and were kind of pushing the limits a bit. I have never watched a movie where the sex was so graphic. It wasn’t uncomfortable, maybe more shocking because of the situations…I can’t really decide what I think about some of the scenes, except they played a big part to Nina’s character development. The story shows how far someone will go for art and for their passion, to the point where it will drive them insane.
There is so much to this film that I cannot even cover it all. The music was amazing, and the costumes of course were brilliant. I like the gradual development of Nina’s character through costume. She is portrayed at first as the perfect ballerina always donning pink and white, but that changes as the story progresses. There was a lot of contrast to black and white. At one point Nina was wearing a white tank top and then this rivaling ballerina, Lilly, gave her a black tank-top to put over that one, which is huge symbolism that she is morphing into the black swan, her alter-ego. And that part of the movie was where the switch really happened, where she started finding the darker side of herself. The movie was full of mirror allusions, it was like Nina could never get away from herself. Constantly seeing herself in mirrors and who she was becoming, it was quite frightening at times.
My favorite shot in the film was a mis en scene. It was of Nina and her mother sitting in their home having a conversation. Everything was placed so perfectly and it was amazing to look at. Visually, this film was amazing, especially the grainy stock used to give it a raw feeling. There were a lot of up close shots to Nina’s face which helped the audience get in her head a little more.
The cinematography was beautiful, amazing performances all around, just over all a really well done movie. If you are into film, like me, than I definitely recommend going to see it and on the big screen. Just realize what you are getting yourself into, because I was slightly disturbed by some of the images.
These are my thoughts on Black Swan, let me know what you think.