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Black Swan

Black Swan

What he said:

He

Unlike my counterpart, I was kind of interested in this movie from the get-go. I’m not into the ballet (NTTAWWT) and to be honest with you I don’t the theater at all that much either. Maybe it’s just me, but the style doesn’t grab me at all. I find it lacking and uninteresting.  

However, a movie that about a play/ballet that unfolds with the style of a professional film? You’ve at least piqued my interest. There were certain aspects of the trailer that made me think it had potential. Initially it starts out looking like little more than a standard drama, but by the end of it you find yourself asking “WTF did I just see?” That kind of stuff is just a peak into what this movie is all about. It’s trippy as hell and if you are into that kind of thing, you may like it.

Natalie Portman plays Nina, an aspiring ballet dancer who eats and breathes work. She does nothing but practice and when she’s not practicing, she goes home and practices some more. At home, she also has her very overprotective mother waiting for her (played by Barbara Hershey). She wants Nina to succeed, but is also partially responsible for Nina’s inability to do so.

You see, Nina has fantastic form, but to call her “socially awkward” would be putting it nicely. She has no passion or chemistry with anyone and despite her skill, all people notice is her frigid and awkward demeanor.

Despite this personality flaw, show’s director Thomas (Vincent Cassel) picks her as his new star. He simply can’t deny her talent, but puts a lot of pressure (in more ways than one) for her to “let go” and become one with the part.

Things get even more complicated when she befriends new ballerina Lily (Mila Kunis). For as naïve and harmless as Nina is, Lily is her exact opposite. Despite the personality differences, the two form something of a friendship.

The movie may be a little uncomfortable and awkward some folk, but I found it to be a very entertaining thriller.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on August 22, 2011.

 

What he said:

She

I think I’ve always known this deep down, but seriously, dancers are nuts!  Ok, I guess I shouldn’t make that generalization.  I’ll be nicer and say that in Black Swan Natalie Portman, and to an extent Barbara Hershey (as her former dancer mom), are nuts.  Portman plays Nina, a technically superior ballet dancer at the top of her game seeking to garner the lead role in Swan Lake.  She’s been working toward this moment her entire life, and despite struggling to embody the Black Swan, Nina scores the role.  Her perfectionism makes her perfect for the clean and virginal White Swan, but the same dancer must also play its dark counterpart, which is much more seductive.  Nina, babied by her mother, and a little, well, off, cannot get down with her bad self and be the Black Swan.  So, the movie follows her as she does her best to meet the demands of the role, while facing the potential threat of being replaced by frenemy, Lily, played by Mila Kunis.

It’s a bit confusing to describe, but the movie is not hard to understand.  The plot is actually quite basic.  It’s the acting and the psychological stuff that makes this film thrive.  Yes, it’s sexually charged, and there are some moments that will make you want to shield your eyes, but these bits seem somewhat essential to developing the character of Nina, as you’ll come to learn.  Did I mention that Nina does not have it all together?  The girl has problems, not the least of which is her overbearing mother.  You get to watch her sort of implode as she tries to achieve perfection, both in herself and in her craft.  Her character is so over-the-top naïve that you may not want to believe she could actually exist, but there are stranger things out there. 

Anyway, I wasn’t in love with all the sexual stuff.  Kind of took it as my cue to wander off for a snack for a few minutes.  But aside from that, this movie is a solid psychological thriller.  It certainly kept me interested.  There are plot holes and awkward moments where you’re not sure if it’s supposed to be funny, or if it just is.  However, the focus of Black Swan is its characters, and each is engaging, developed, and well-acted.

Thumbs up.