Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Review: Black Swan (2)

What a beautiful, wonderful, amazing film. Today was my second time seeing Black Swan in theaters and it was even better this time. I thought that it wouldn't be as good now that there's not as much mystery around it, but this is a movie that gets better with multiple viewings. This movie, in my opinion, is perfect and I love every minute of it. What I love most is its theme of duality. Nina has to portray both the white swan and the black swan, and thus becomes both in real life. She starts the movie already embodying the traits of the white swan. She is fragile and beautiful, and is absolutely perfect for that role.

What her ballet director is concerned about, however, is if she can pull off the black swan. So while her body is preparing for the technical aspects of the ballet, her mind starts preparing her in other ways. She starts having hallucinations and seeing darker versions of herself on other people, including a rival ballet dancer named Lily played by Mila Kunis.
Throughout the movie, the black swan starts emerging in physical ways as well. She develops a rash on her back that gets larger and larger scratches on it.

It gets worse and worse throughout the movie as she becomes more and more like the black swan, until it eventually sprouts little hairs, and there is a disturbing sequence of her pulling out one of the hairs. The best part of the movie has to be the premiere of the ballet.
It starts off with her dancing the white swan. She starts off doing a beautiful job, but the male dancer drops her, ruining her performance. We see her cry as she dances off stage with her back to the audience, and goes back to her dressing room only to find Lily waiting for her. Throughout the whole movie, she has suspected that Lily was trying to replace her, and when Lily suggests that she should dance the black swan for her, she loses it and stabs Lily in the stomach with a shard of glass and hides her in the bathroom.
It is this act that truly transforms her into the evil, seductive black swan. Now that she is fully transformed, she has become perfect for the part and thus dances it perfectly.

She becomes the black swan both psychologically and literally and as she dances she sprouts large black feathers during her second dance. She has stood up to her overbearing mother, allowed herself to be seduced by her ballet director, and has destroyed her rival. She is fully transformed from the frail, innocent white swan that she has always been to the seductive and powerful black swan that she had been slowly becoming.  
There is an absolutely gorgeous shot at the very end of her dance when her arms are up in the air. She is physically back to normal, but her shadow still has wings. That is probably my favorite shot in the whole movie. After she is finished dancing the black swan and has to become the white swan again, she retuns to her dressing room to find that Lily is not dead. Instead, she sees that she is the one with the wound in her stomach. Lily was really just a projection of herself and how she saw the black swan. This is evident earlier in the film as well in the morning after their sex scene. She arrives at rehearsal to find that Lily did not stay the night. She needed Lily as a rival, lover, and victim in order to transform herself into her own evil twin. So the films ends with dancing her final dance as the white swan. She is transformed back to her fragile self upon realization that she did not kill Lily and finishes the ballet beautifully.
 There is another gorgeous shot at the very end of Nina slowly falling on the mattress after her character kills herself and she has to jump.

The ending here shows how she has become one with her character. As the white swan dies, so does Nina, and she bleeds out from her pretty white costume, her last word being, "Perfect..." She became her characters, and so she was perfect. But she reached perfection at the tragic loss of herself.

This movie has sensational performances by Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, and Mila Kunis. I was really disappointed that Cassel and Hershey weren't nominated for Oscars, for they truly deserved to be. Ms. Portman however did receive her second Oscar nomination for her role as Nina Sayers, and I believe that on February 27th she will get her first win. This is a movie that I genuinly love, and look forward to seeing again. My Review: still 10/10.

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