|[Adoring Natalie Portman]|
It doesn't hurt that it's being nominated everywhere and is loved by critics. I was both mesmerized and at the edge of my seat the entire time. Aronofsky was amazing with his direction. But really, I hope Natalie wins an Oscar for this. And now for my more incoherent fangirling. Raise your hand if you're still reeling!
So let's get the actual film out of the way. BRILLIANT REALLY. As a psychological thriller, it had me guessing and second-guessing myself half the time. Sure, I'm a really easy to please kind of movie goer and I have absolutely no sensibilities for critiquing a film, but considering I was with my siblings, all of whom actually think during a film, I'd say we were a pretty impressed bunch.
And how could we not? Aronofsky did a fine job of really making us always wonder if we too are going crazy as we see Nina spin into her delusions and go downward as she pushes herself to bring out the 'black swan' in her -- not just literally but emotionally and through her dance as well.
The visuals were stunning, from the multiple mirror images (THERE WERE MIRRORS EVERYWHERE) to all the bleeding extremities (I have no formed a slight phobia with cutting my nails), the ballet shoes whether on pointe or being prepped, and of course, the transformation from white to black swan that Nina undergoes (whether through make-up, or the one in her head). I loved the costumes (Nina's gown at her announcement to her normal clothes to of course the ballet tutus), the music, the cinematography, the lighting... it was just a visual treat.
One of the pleasures of “Black Swan” is its lack of reverence toward the rarefied world of ballet, which to outsiders can look as lively as a crypt. Mr. Aronofsky makes this world (or his version of it) exciting partly by pulling back the velvet curtains and showing you the sacrifices and crushingly hard work that goes into creating beautiful dances. [NY Times]Like I said, I've been fascinated with the world of ballet and though I'll never be a part of it (except for my brief stint in grade one where I did give it a go, obviously not for me), it's always wonderful to get immersed in a world that's got all these hidden dramas and rituals -- none of which we're actually privy to even if you do patronize the shows. This felt like a grittier and obviously more serious Center Stage and a more real look into the ins and outs of the ballet world.
Then of course, there was her take on Nina's quest for perfection, from practicing herself to the bone, puking up her guts and getting therapy from a chiropractor from overworking herself. I loved the balance she struck between her innocence in her pink room to the glimpses of adulthood with her touching herself only to find out her mom was in the room with her.
Sandy Cohen Ballet Director, Thomas Leroy played by Vincent Cassel (who is still one hot fox and now makes me a little jealous of Monica Belluci) was commanding in his presence and everytime he'd enter a scene (whether seducing a performance out of Nina or trying to appease Beth), and I swear I couldn't take my eyes off him. And not just cause he's still so damn fine.
The new kid on the block Lily, played by Mila Kunis brought her own brand of beauty to the film and I loved the duality she and Natalie brought out in each other. I'm sure boys everywhere enjoyed the girl-on-girl action these kids showed, but I loved how she was both friendly to Nina and also a strong competitor for the prize. I could never tell whether she was being sincere or not.
And despite her small role, Winona Ryder still freaked me out everytime as Beth. It's been discussed how parallel Beth's life seems to be with Winona's descent from stardom, but I thought Winona was pretty damn amazing as the fading star of the show, without being campy or obvious about it. I hope I never have to see her stab her face off again though.
All in all, I'm definitely in love with this film and can't wait to see Natalie and company on the red carpet for more Black Swan promotions and hopefully awards. Another awesome turn for Aronofsky.
More Black Swan:
Toronto International Film Festival
67th Venice Film Festival