Monday, January 10

Black Swan Review in 600 Words or Less

I finally got around to seeing Black Swan today, and my oh my, that movie certainly lives up to the hype. Here's my review of the film in roughly 400 words.

The story centers around Nina Sayers, portrayed by Natalie Portman. She is a ballerina who has been in her company for several years and finally earns the lead of Swan Queen in the company's portrayal of Swan Lake. She's a perfect fit for the White Swan--elegant, graceful and rigid in her movements, but can't quite seem to grasp the part of the Black Swan, which is more sensual and uninhibited. Enter Lily, played by Mila Kunis. Lily embodies the Black Swan and does it effortlessly. Nina eventually starts to open herself up to Lily and discovers a dark side of herself she had never seen, as she embarks to be perfect.

Black Swan is directed by Darren Aronofsky, of The Wrestler fame, and you can certainly see some similarities between the two. The most obvious is the "third person point-of-view" whenever the main character is walking to a new location. But what Aronofsky does so well here, as he does in The Wrestler, is really make us feel what Nina's going through. When she does a pirouette, we feel our toes and ankles creaking too. When she clips her nails too close and starts to bleed, our fingers tremble a bit too. Aronofsky nails his casting choices as well.

I saw the movie with my sister and her boyfriend, and when we exited the theater we figured the Oscar would just go to Natalie Portman. There's really no other female lead I can think of that would oust her. I've always thought she was a decent actress (Garden State aside, but that was just painful in general), but this role should propel her into the realms of superstardom. She plays the role of a naive, innocent girl perfectly, and as she slowly descends into a darker place filled with psychotic symptoms, she captures that personality just as flawlessly. Kunis's role reminded me a bit of how she played her character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, mainly in the "wild, carefree spirit" way, but she plays it so well it can be forgiven. Winona Ryder, who plays the aging, retiring (not by choice) former lead dancer, may only be in the movie for about eight minutes or so, but every time she's onscreen she's powerful and intense. Barbara Hersey does a fantastic job as Nina's mom, who tries to help her daughter have the career she was never able to but at the same time can't understand the demons that have burrowed into Nina's mind. All those female performances aside, it's Vincent Cassel who really steals the show. So much so, in fact, that he gets his own paragraph.

Cassel plays ballet director Thomas Leroy, and just simply owns the role. From the first time he steps onscreen, the dancers are trying to impress him, as he controls their collective fates--their part in the performance. Of course, he knows this, so he uses it to take advantage of multiple dancers. But he's so good when he has to at putting on the facade of being a strong instructor who only wants to see his dancers succeed. His dialogue with Nina on how she can embody the Black Swan always has a touch of smugness to it, and he delivers those lines brilliantly.

Much like The Wrestler, the main character both hurts and is hurt by those closest to them. And also like The Wrestler, you'll walk out of the theater glad you saw the movie, because it is a tremendous, haunting tale of a girl that lives and breathes dance. It may not be perfect, but it's pretty damn close.

And what do you know, this movie's doing so well Saturday Night Live decided to parody it. Let's watch!

This Day in History
1493- Christopher Columbus sees what he believes are mermaids, and claims they are not as beautiful as they had been described. Too bad what he actually saw were manatees. Big difference between the two.

1929- Seeing eye-dogs are trained for the first time in Nashville, TN.

No comments:

Post a Comment