"Black Swan" was exactly what I expected it to be - usually this would be an insult to a film (for a film to be great it should exceed one's expectations...right?). However, I had extremely high expectations for this film, probably too high - the trailer was beautiful, the actors are talented and the director is one of the most creative, auteur directors working today. It had no excuses to be anything but amazing and surprisingly it actually was!! Here are reason's it was a great film:
1. It's memorable - Darren Aronofsky is a master at creating memorable films. If you were to ask me what the most disturbing film is - I would respond with Requiem for a Dream. Watching people self-destruct is quite powerful and Requiem combines this theme with some equally disturbing images creating something so memorable I never had to watch it again (the film is literally stuck in my brain forever). Black Swan is similar in the way that it uses strong imagery to represent the downward spiral of the main character, Nina. It is disturbing to watch this innocent and naive girl create a world of chaos in her head. She is literally her own worst enemy, but the film also makes you wonder how much is actually in her head and how much really happened. I love that it doesn't give any direct answers - instead leaves you guessing (some will inevitably find this irritating). I don't want to give any spoilers away, but when you watch it you will understand what I mean. I guess I felt such a personal connection to the story because it represents one of my biggest fears - which is having a mental breakdown. Sometimes I can feel myself breaking and it is the worst feeling in the world - luckily it usually doesn't last long but what if one day my brain just "breaks" and I don't recover? That is horrifying to think about. Anyway.....
2. Natalie Portman - The one big problem I had with the film is that they never give any idea of Nina's age. Natalie is my age (almost 30...shhh...don't tell anyone!)- I grew up watching her, so to me she is an adult (plus she has always carried herself in a much more mature manner than most Hollywood stars her age - so she sometimes seemed even older). Yet, Nina is obviously supposed to be "young" as in an adolescent (someone who has not yet experienced her "sexual awakening") who lives with her controlling mother and a bunch of stuffed animals. That would make me assume that she is 18 (at the oldest), but then she goes to a club and gets wasted (legally) - so then she is obviously older than 21. It doesn't really make sense to me. Anyway, on to Miss Portman's fantastic performance! I think the thing that makes her performance so great is that she was cast in this role to begin with - it was perfect casting. Natalie seems fragile, uptight and a bit of a perfectionist - so it wasn't a hard transition for her to play this role, however she was able to completely unravel and use her fragility to become completely vulnerable and "broken". It is heartbreaking and wonderful to witness. It mirrored the film beautifully (Natalie was perfect as "innocent Nina" but one wonders whether she will be able to pull off "self-destructive Nina" just like Nina is perfect for "White Swan" but will she be able to become the "Black Swan"?).
3. Swan Lake - The film was based around the production of this famous Ballet. I have never seen it - I wasn't even aware of the story. Thanks to this film, I am now obsessed. It is sort of a fairy tale with a twist (as in she doesn't get the prince and live happily ever after). The idea that suicide is "freeing" is a twisted yet beautiful concept. Plus, Ballet has always been my least favorite dance. While I appreciate the passion and dedication that these dancers have, it is completely boring to watch. This film had a nice balance of the actual dancing, so I never felt bored - instead I was able to enjoy the dancing in small increments.
4. Mila Kunis - I love her. She is seriously gorgeous and talented. Can she be in more movies please?