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March 3, 2013

Movie Review: Black Swan (2011)

by Peggy Christie

Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman having sex. AKA Black Swan.

Natalie plays Nina, a delicate, sensitive, and brilliant ballerina who, like most every other ballerina in the world, wants to be the Swan Queen in Swan Lake. She’s perfect for the White Swan, the sweet and loving ‘good’ character that’s trapped in a swan’s body, just waiting for her prince to come and break the spell. She’s not so perfect for the Black Swan, the character that tricks the prince into giving his love to her and not the White one.

You see, the Black Swan is seduction, passion, chaos, letting go – all the things that Nina is not. But the director of the ballet company gives her a shot in hopes that she can find that part of herself that can create both good and bad, or White and Black.

Ecstatic as she is, Nina can’t seem to handle the stress. She starts to see things, hear things, believe in all sorts of conspiracies. She’s also a stress-scratcher. It’s like a cutter but not as sexy, and definitely not as convenient as she only scratches her right shoulder blade, apparently when she’s sleeping.

She also has a common ailment to many professional dancers: bulimia. We see her more often than not in the bathroom puking instead of peeing.

Cue Lily, a sexy let-loose gal who’s filling in for a vacant dancer. She tries to encourage Nina by giving her praise, trying to be her friend, giving her drugs to she can trip balls with a handful of strangers…
But can Nina hold it together and find that hidden part of herself to create the best Swan Queen? You know, before she goes nuts?

I was so much more bored with this movie that I thought I would be. I love all dance/music films, even if the acting and/or stories are trite or lame or cheesy. This didn’t have as much dancing as it did OVERWHELMING SLAPS IN THE FACE WITH METAPHORS.

Okay, we get it. Nina is stressed out and scratching her skin, she’s throwing up to keep thin, her mother has some obvious depression issues – all things that can affect the mind as well as the body. Throw on top of all that she has to, literally, become two different people to perform Swan Lake.

But was it necessary to have a mirror in every scene? Oh, I get it. What’s real and what’s just a reflection? Is Nina going crazy or are people out to get her? Her memories are playing tricks on her. Look, even the mirrors are broken or sectioned up so even the reflections have dualities!

Oh. My. God.

I find it hard to believe that she’s spiraling throughout the entire movie and no one notices. (SPOILER ALERT) She imagines she stabs her rival only to realize she stabbed herself but she can still dance the second act and the final scene in the ballet and no one notices the blood until after the curtain closes? WTH?
And the big “holy crap it’s two girls” sex scene? Not that big. And not all that breathtaking since there’s no chemistry between them. Yay for Nina since she finally gets an orgasm but really? By the end of the movie, who cares?

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