‘Black Swan’ review: It’s dark and intense but goes a little too far at times
Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” is almost perfect. And I’m about to give it an almost perfect review. Not perfect, almost perfect. I’ll explain why soon.
I really liked the movie. I loved the mind-f**k. I LOVED the amped ballet score as the movie score. I loved Natalie Portman. I loved Barbara Hershey. I even loved Mila Kunis. It was almost perfect. But Aronofsky went too far with the swan transformation effects.
It just all needed some editing. I think I would’ve been OK had it not been for the scene with the legs. That’s all I’m saying to not spoil anything. I also think there was too much crotch grabbing. Sex for the sake of sex doesn’t do anything for a movie. The entire thing teetered on the fine line between serious and camp.
“Black Swan” tells the story of Nina Sayers (Portman) a ballerina who lives in a city apartment with her over-bearing stage mother. It’s hard to understand Nina’s age because her mother (Hershey) dresses (and undresses her) and sleeps in her room, which is adorned with childish decor and stuffed animals. Nina is a very disciplined dancer and because of the company’s aging star’s (Winona Ryder) forced retirement, she is chosen to dance the lead in “Swan Lake.”
Nina’s artistic director Thomas (Vincent Cassel) tells her she’s perfect as the white swan but he isn’t sure she can handle dancing the black swan. He tells her, while technically perfect, she doesn’t know how to get lost in herself and the dance. So Nina works hard to embody the black swan. And of course, she works a little too hard. She quickly goes mad and with the help of her new rival Lily (Kunis) quickly spirals out of control.
She starts seeing things and imagining things. She lashes out at her mother. She even imagines she’s turning into the black swan. It’s one of those movies where you can pretty much believe what you want to believe. I realize she wasn’t really turning into a swan. It was all a part of her madness. What I’m not sure about are any of the other things that happened. For example, the much talked about sex scene between Portman’s and Kunis’ character. Did it really happen? Who knows. We’ll just have to make our own conclusions.
Regardless of what I say about Aronofsky needing editing, he did create a masterpiece. And it was Portman who really made it all work. If awards voters can look past what some might call borderline camp, she should be taking home all the gold, even the Oscar. 3.5 stars
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