Monday, December 13, 2010

Dance Club


What do you get when you cross Swan Lake, All About Eve, Showgirls, and Fight Club? That's right: Black Swan, one of the strangest, most confusing movies of this or any year. In the film, Natalie Portman stars as Nina, an up-and-coming ballet dancer, whose sanity unravels when she scores the lead role in a new production of Swan Lake. If you don't know this ballet (and I didn't), it requires the lead to play two roles: the White Swan (notable for her innocence and grace) and the Black Swan (the polar opposite; a more sensual, seductive character). This duality proves a challenge for Nina: she is nothing if not delicate and graceful, but exploring her seductive side is less natural. When Lily (Mila Kunis) joins the company, she is seen as a more perfect fit for the Black Swan, and she becomes a rival to Nina. Their relationship develops into a twisted friendship, and as it does, Nina begins to lose her grip on reality.

That said, though it's set in the world of ballet, Black Swan is not a ballet movie. Instead, it's a psychological thriller that's creepy and keeps you guessing. Having seen it, I still don't exactly know what to make of it, and that's not meant to be a dismissive statement. Generally, I enjoyed the movie — it's attractive to watch, Portman is very good, and it's certainly thought-provoking. But like Fight Club, I think I may have to see it again before I really understand and appreciate it. So for now, pending a repeat viewing and more discussion, and because writing about Black Swan means revealing important plot points, I'm going to cut this short and only give the film a B.



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