It is funny to think about all the naysayers who couldn’t possibly believe that there could be a good movie about ballet. Well, the impossible happened and it blew away everyone’s expectations. Black Swan was released in 2010, garnering critical success as well as earning Natalie Portman her much deserved Oscar.
Black Swan is such a surreal and mind-bending nightmare. From the calm beginnings to the harrowing finale, it is a journey through the obsession that Natalie Portman’s character has for the role of the Swan Queen. The movie though, can be viewed as her maturity and not her descent into madness. Much of Darren Aronofsky’s work be viewed as character studies, just check out my review for Noah for more evidence, and it is the type of film that he succeeds at. Natalie Portman is absolutely amazing in this film. Her range of emotions in the film is astounding. From her childish manner in calling her mom and crying about getting the part, to her flirtatious, sexual attitude with Mila Kunis’ character, to her final descent into pure insanity, Natalie Portman had the performance of a lifetime in this film.
Watching this again last night, I really admired the use of sound in the film. From the clipping of the fingernails, to the bones grinding against the floor, to the sound of a fingernail file going through someone’s cheek, the sound, much like the movie, gets under your skin. The score by Clint Mansell is also fantastic, featuring his spin on the music from Swan Lake, which unfortunately excluded him from earning an Oscar nomination because of its lack of originality.
So, if you want to watch a movie that exceeded expectations, that has one of the greatest performances by a great actress, is the absolute best movie about ballet, and is a phenomenal character study, go watch this movie.