Patty (woodycakes) wrote,

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Black Swan

[Adoring Natalie Portman]
I'm a sucker for dance movies, especially those that revolve around ballet (case in point: Center Stage), so naturally I'd fall in love with Black Swan. But then Darren Aronofsky came in and took Natalie Portman with him and it just became something I HAD TO WATCH.

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.

Before I totally mess this up with my inane fangirling, I thought I'd quote some critics on their thoughts on the movie. They do get paid to do this, so they must make more sense than me:
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.

I have to give it to Natalie Portman who just BROUGHT IT each and everytime. I don't know who else will be nominated with her for Academy Awards (if the Academy does it right and gives her a nomination, of course), but I really feel like Natalie at least deserves a nomination. Though naturally petite, Natalie transformed herself into a ballerina -- I couldn't see her otherwise, from her tiny body to the cuts and bruises and the way her muscles moved.

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.

Of course the rest of the cast deserve a huge shout-out as well. Nina's over-controlling mom played by Barbra Hershey was amazing as the dancer who gave it all up for her daughter. Though I wanted to tell her to stop smothering her daughter, you could tell where she came from and I swore I screamed in pain when Nina slammed the door on her fingers.

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.

But more than the film, I wanted to talk about how amazing the publicity has been for this film. They've marketed it brilliantly online not just with their website I Just Want To Be Perfect but with their many many many appearance all over the web. From the page overlays on Defamer; to the gallery of Natalie Portman looks by the Fug Girls (complete with leaderboard and MRec banner ads on New York Magazine; to their 'get the look' feature on StyleFind (and I'm sure there are a ton more on websites I haven't seen), I love how they really maximized their online presence. Pardon the digression, it was relevant to my job, so I included it.

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
Tags: mila kunis, movies, natalie portman
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