I just got back from seeing this film.
A thriller that zeros in on the relationship between a veteran ballet dancer and a rival.
spoiler includes notes about The Wrestler, so, be warned. MAJOR PLOT POINTS SPOILER FOR BOTH FILMS (MEANING THE ENDING) IN THE SPOILER TAGS BELOW.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Pander and I went to see this and honestly as soon as it started I felt for her. Ballet is one of those things that people have no honest idea about. It's a violent and depressing and a vengeful art, which is so short and fleeting. I read in a couple articles that Aronofsky would have liked to show both The Wrestler & Black Swan together, or even make them the same movie. I entirely agree. Both centered on two people at the brink of making a serious choice -- to give in or fight for it, and both choose to do so, and, they both are rewarded and both die.
A lot of it was close to home, which made it even harder to watch. Some of the scenes were like cut out of my own brain, watching my older sister destroy her toe shoes before wearing them, stepping into the resin, etc. Both The Wrestler & Swan Queen dive into self destructive, harmful insanity. The editing, acting, soundtrack and the dance choregroaphy were excellent. It was startling and brutal and scathing. The person who I think needs more credit is Wynona Ryder. She was the aging, failing prima ballerina whos downfall was the cataylst for Nina (and Lily's) own insanity. She was only on screen for maybe 10 minutes but she stole every minute of those few. Her Beth was painful to watch in her desperation, humiliation and crisis. It's no surprise she does what she does -- perhaps she sees it as revenge, or maybe as a warning, or maybe just an act of her own self destructive psychosis. As for Natalie Portman - she did excellent. Although at first I thought the role was too easy for her, a good girl, how hard could it be for her to do that? I quickly changed my mind as her mother perversly examined her, shamed her, and lived vicariously through her, even as she failed at her own ****ty art. When she became The Swan I had to gasp, she was amazing to watch. I know she's an actress, but her movements could have fooled me, even as a girl who danced for awhile. I highly highly highly highly highly suggest this film.