Friday, October 21, 2016

1011. Black Swan

Black Swan
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

This film was a big deal when it was released, but I rarely hear it mentioned now as anyone's favorite movie.  I do hear references to the lesbian scene, which we have all collectively decided was awesome.

Nina is a timid ballerina in a New York City ballet company.  I don't think filmmakers are capable of portraying a happy ballerina, so you know this isn't going to end well.  Nina lives with her controlling mother (in my opinion, there is nothing scarier than a mother in a horror movie).  Nina's company is putting on Swan Lake and the director chooses Nina for the lead role.  Nina is able to perform the White Swan's part perfectly, but is unable to full embody the Black Swan role.  Slowly, she begins to get in her touch with her dark side.

I've only been to the ballet once in London.  I imagined that the experience would be dark and erotic, perhaps a little confusing, but utterly engaging.  I was a bit off the mark, but this movie felt like everything I imagined a ballet should be.

This is not the kind of movie that is packed with jump scares, but the characters have enough darkness in them that they manage to be genuinely chilling.  A beautifully twisted film.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Winona Ryder only has four minutes of screen time.

Natalie Portman's dancing double, Sarah Lane, has stated that she doesn't feel like she has gotten the credit she deserves, as she performed most of the dancing.  Aronofsky later said that Portman did 80% of her own dancing.


  1. A friend summed this up best for me, saying he hated it because it's "a film that puts regular people off good films"

    As ever with Aronofsky, the art work was immense. Some of his other aspects can be hit (Pi) or miss (The Fountain). I found this a miss. Too much of it is based around a mystery that when once twigged it (hello Shutter Island) you're just sitting around waiting for the end.

  2. Good point Amanda.. that for a film that was was 'all over the place' a few years ago, seems to have vanished from the radar. Not sure why. Was it in fact, not so good?, a bit all flash and no substance? Not sure. I watched it, what, 2, maybe 3 of years ago, and, well, It passed nicely, I sort of seem to remember liking it, thinking well of it.. But now I'm really not sure what I remember of it, what I thought of it. And, you know, I cannot remember the Lesbian scene.. I guess I sort of shrugged and said, 'right, well that would have been for the trailers and the 14 year old boys in the chat rooms to drool over'
    So, glad it all hit most of your spots, but I would like to invite you to come back to this ost in say, 3 years time and see if you still recall it so well.
    A very guarded response from me .. sorry.

  3. I thought it was a great film but I can't cope with horror films...and I know this is not a horror film and got marketed more as a drama...but I was really uneasy and on edge watching it and I just don't enjoy it when I feel that way. But yes, a great film with a great central performance. I loved the story, her unravelling, the Swan Lake back drop, the darkness of it. Natalie Portman really went for it and I remember it really clearly even though I saw it once at the cinema when it was released so it must have made an impression but yeah basically it just creeped me out too much for me to love it.

  4. Wow we are all over the place in our opinions of this one. I haven't seen the Fountain, which is apparently a good thing.

  5. I really loved The Fountain...I wasnt expecting to...Hugh Jackman is amazing in it...i think you might like it! Although I like it so t suggests the opposite :)

  6. I didn't hate the fountain, although I'm aware that most people do and when I saw it at the cinema I was sitting next to a friend who I had dragged along and who I could tell was hating every second of it which made me feel even more uncomfortable.

    There's a visual sequence at the end which was magical, but not sure if it was worth sitting through the film for

  7. Haha Ashley, maybe we will have another magical Bringing Up Baby moment. And Dessie I definitely have been there, as I make people watch movies they hate all the time.

  8. I found this movie disturbing and I was on edge a lot of the time. Can't say I enjoyed it but the performances were amazing.