Black Swan (2010)
Reviewed on 2011 March 30
Darren Aronofsky did it again. I hated math, and yet his movie Pi fascinated me. Wrestling? Seriously? And The Wrestler was great. Now he makes a movie about ballet, yet another thing I don’t care for — I’m suspicious of anything that requires you to abuse your body and weigh less than your normal body temperature to do — and yet again I was hooked.
Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a ballerina in New York, living with her overbearing ex-ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey). Erica is a royal piece of work. She’s a charming combination of Mommie Dearest and a stage mother, badgering her daughter when she tries to have anything of a normal life for fear it may hamper her career, and then in the next breath having a passive-agressive fit her when Nina doesn’t want a piece of cake. I think poor Nina does have some eating disorder, but refusing a nasty sugary dessert isn’t the same thing as refusing lean meat and produce, and her momzilla still has a fit. Nina’s pressures don’t lessen in the ballet studio either; she wants the part of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake, a role she never dreams she’ll get. She lands it, but also makes a possible frenemy: Lily (Mila Kunis), a California free spirit who dances well and looks so much like incarnation of the wicked Black Swan that it pushes the threatened Nina even closer to the edge.
Here is another film that doesn’t sound like much on paper. I admit when I first heard the plot synopsis my attitude was “your point?” But I started hearing good reviews, both critical buzz and positive things from non-professional divine movie beings like you and me, and I had to see the thing for myself. Natalie Portman turned in a great performance as the frail Nina, and Mila Kunis was also very good as Lily the wild card. Aronofsky did the rest with some seriously disturbing effects that can have you wondering what’s real and what isn’t.
Three morsels, and a piece of cake. Just don’t let someone guilt you into eating it.