Before I get into the review, play this in the back ground to get you in the mood. Just click play and read on .
(PS. It won’t allow you to listen to it on my site directly…so open when you click play, just click on the “Watch on YouTube Link…it’ll open in a separate window.)
So in the throes of Snowmaggedon, or the Snowpacalypse or Battlesnow Earth or whatever you want to call it, consider this your comfort reading while you cozy up to a fire…if you have power and viable access to the net. I know most of you are probably out shoveling right now. And to those our Southern Hemisphere brothers and sisters in Australia riding out/rode out Cyclone Yasi, I wish you well. This will still be here when you get back on your feet.
Black Swan, to put it succinctly, is truly a mindf*ck of Fight Club proportions. Anyone who hasn’t yet seen Fight Club but has already seen Black Swan, go and watch it. Those who’ve seen Fight Club but not Black Swan, do the same. If Fight Club has a younger cuter sister who was just as messed up as the main character of that Chuck Palahniuk movie, it would be Black Swan.
Natalie Portman plays the psychologically distressed Nina Meyers who’s self-imposed need for perfection drives her into insanity as she not only earns the lead role of the famous ballet piece, Swan Lake, but is fully engulfed within it. This mental degradation provides memorable and disturbing imagery as she experiences a world that may or may not be real. Her life parallels closely to the title character of Swan Lake in a subtle yet intriguing way. Listen carefully to the ballet director’s words when he gives directions to young Nina as she takes on the challenging role of the Swan Queen.
Natalie captures Nina’s youthful fragility as she slowly breaks apart with such delicacy that I finally understand why she’s been nominated for Best Actress this year. Natalie also devoted six months before filming to tone and strengthen her body for this role. All ballet scenes with the exception of a few long shot are herself which is amazing considering the technical expertise needed to pull off some of the moves of Swan Lake.
Mila Kunis stands out as the quasi-villain, Lily (that may or may not be a villian…yes, this movie makes you question everything) who unintentionally leads poor Nina down a path of destruction by introducing her into a darker version of Nina’s childlike world. Her performance is loose, seductive and honest.
Nina’s troubles are real to a lot of women and girls trying to make strive to be “perfect”. Too many women succumb to the insinuated (often blatant) expectations of beauty which leads to warped perceptions of oneself and one’s world. This is the real message of this powerful movie. Perfection can only be found in your flaws.
Nina’s technical perfection is mirrored by Lily’s truthfulness to herself. Lily accepts her weaknesses and tries to help Nina wrap her mind around that in an indirect way. Anything less than perfection is unimaginable to Nina and ultimately leads to her falling apart…but I’m oversimplifying this movie that really could take chapters to decipher. There’s so much in Black Swan that even as I write this more and more is coming to me.
So I’ll leave my impressions of female sexual self-expression, of bulimia, of mother-daughter relationships, of professional jealousy, and of single parenthood for another time perhaps. I’ll let Black Swan speak and dance for itself.
The beginning of Black Swan can by slow, predictable, and trying at points but the reward of the second half is worth the first. When it begins to pick up, you’ll not know which way it’s going to go even up to the final curtain call. Much like the last scene in Fight Club (sorry folks, I won’t spoil that for you if you haven’t seen the movie…and even if I did, you wouldn’t understand it without watching it), Black Swan takes unexpected turns. And remember I didn’t say it WAS Fight Club, I said it was LIKE Fight Club.
I feel that as time goes by, this movie will have a following very similar to Fight Club as appreciation grows.
And to those guys who fear losing their “Man Card” if they watch this, consider this scene: Clicky-clicky. Also, you can bring your Significant Others with you and win points for going to a really brilliant movie disguised as a chick flick. I’m only here to help…
Black Swan will have you wanting more after the closing credits and make you dwell on scenes long after you get home.
And if you haven’t paid attention to the song I told you to click at the beginning, go back and listen to the words.
9.2 bloody fingernails out of 10