Black Swan Movie Review
Finally, a movie that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go until the credits roll. Black Swan is a head trip, a psychological thriller set against the pretty pinks and angelic tutus of the ballet world. Put it this way, you won’t be able to look at ballet the same way ever again after Black Swan.
Natalie Portman plays Nina, the new principal dancer at the New York Ballet Company, taking over from Beth (the brilliant Winona Ryder). She’s been chosen for the prized role of the Swan Queen in the company’s latest production, a new twist on Swan Lake. And while artistic director Thomas (swoon-worthy Vincent Cassel) is sure she can shine as the pure, innocent White Swan, he doubts she has the sensuality and passion required of the alter ego Black Swan.
Here begins Nina’s journey of self discovery, jolted by the arrival of new dancer Lily (Mila Kunis). Lily is everything the Black Swan should be – sexy, reckless – impressing Thomas and threatening Nina. On top of it all, Nina’s mother, retired ballerina Erica (Barbara Hershey, who’s just so good) jealously guards over her every movement, vicariously living through her daughter to be the dancer she never could.
Nina is haunted by shadows, strangers, Lily, Beth and of course, her mother. She strives for perfection while a new, dark side is itching out of her. She starts to mingle reality with her dreams, her fantasies and the story of the Swan Queen – and so will you.
Natalie Portman is beyond impressive as Nina, throwing off the little girl lost, desperately trying to become her own woman. You don’t expect Natalie to be the one actually dancing the gorgeous routines, but it is. She trained for eight hours a day – with New York City Ballet principal dancer Benjamin Millepied (who she’s now engaged and expecting a baby with!).
What’s mind-blowing about Black Swan is how creepy yet achingly beautiful it is. It offers a behind-the-scenes perspective into the passionate, painful, desperate world of ballet. Director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) focuses on all the senses – the crackling sound of ballerinas breaking in their new shoes, the fluttering of tutus amidst a whirlwind of pirouettes. It’s a visually stunning film – the costumes, the makeup, the sets, the music. And you won’t believe the ending – it stays with you for days. Take a deep breath before you go and see Black Swan – you’ve been warned.
Black Swan in cinemas January 20, with advanced screenings in participating cinemas January 13-16.
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