Okay, there’s no doubt that Black Swan is a beautifully made film. However, that’s where it ends for me. I love director Darren Aronofsky’s work; The Wrestler revived Mickey Rouke’s career, although he lost the Oscar to Sean Penn, and where do I even begin to describe the briliance of Requiem for a Dream. Buzz on this film has been building for over a year, the only reason I knew about it was because it was to include a “lesbian sex scene” between stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. I never thought in a billion years it would become one of the most talked about films leading up to the announcement of Oscar nominations on January 25th. And what do people usually do when they hear about a buzzworthy film? They see it and Black Swan‘s box office numbers are not bad thus far as it has surged past the $50 million mark. So the stage is set, but the stage looks very familiar.
The dying-to-be-perfect ballerina Nina, played by a type cast Portman is a painfully predictable character. It’s true no other actress could’ve tackled the part, but I feel a little let down. Two of the better performances in the film come from Nina’s mother, played by Barbara Hershey (who has had some major face work!) and the retiring star of the ballet, Beth, played by Winona Ryder. It’s too bad you won’t see their names nominated, yet you might see, Portman’s rival, Lily (Mina Kunis) nominated for a supporting role. And I would give a supporting nod to Vincent Cassel, who plays the sleazy choreographer, Thomas (pronounced “Tomah”) again, his character is very predictable. Oddly enough, Aronofsky will get many directing nods, including at this Sunday’s Golden Globes and he deserves them.
I saw this film with a friend and we found ourselves cringing and laughing at parts. Cringing, because Nina has these mysterious hang nails that pop up and, well, she takes care of them…UGH! Laughing, because some of the film is just ridiculous. I have to give props to Aronofsky for creating a lot of scream-worthy moments, which I didn’t expect; more so than a run-of-the-mill horror film. Not big screams, but some gotcha kind of moments. If Natalie Portman wins any acting awards for Black Swan, they will be based solely on her dedication to becoming a tortured ballerina. Hell, she’s pregnant by her ballet instructor on the film, Benjamin Millepied, now that’s method acting! They plan to marry.
In short, if you see it, be prepared to be tickled and horrified at the same time; if nothing Black Swan is extremely entertaining.