Is it possible to find a movie beautiful and yet not be sure whether you like it?
Black Swan is as awful as it is awesome. As captivating as it is disturbing.
Natalie Portman plays Nina, a ballerina whose life is completely consumed by her dance. She lives with her bordering-on-psychotic mother who encourages her ballet aspirations on the one hand and grudges her success on the other, and maniacally controls her adult daughter's life.
The New York based ballet company that Nina works for plans to re-produce the classic 'Black Swan' ballet, a story of the virtuous White Swan and her evil twin the Black Swan. The director wants a ballerina that can play both the swans with equal elan. Nina wants to be chosen for the role and manages to bag it, even though the director feels that she can portray the innocent White Swan splendidly, but lacks the sensuality to play the Black Swan that represents lust and jealousy, possibly due to her own sexual repression and underdevelopment.
Her obsession with perfection and paranoia about losing the part to free-spirited rival Lily (Mila Kunis), who is the personification of the Black Swan, makes her delusional. As she gets drawn into the ballet and works harder to get the Black Swan right, she loses her ability to distinguish reality from illusion and becomes progressively like the Black Swan, frequently engaging in self-mutilation that culminates in the chilling climax.
Natalie Portman plays Nina with such passion & intensity that she sucks you right into her mental hell. And if she's done all the dancing in the movie herself, hats off to her. Mila Kunis is awesome too and I wish there was more of her in the movie. I barely recognized Winona Ryder, who has a cameo of a ballerina at the sunset of her career. And how pretty is Natalia Portman?!!
As I mentioned earlier, 'Black Swan' is beautiful - it's more art than cinema, poetry in motion. It shows you how scary losing one's mind can be, and how fragile sanity really is. Yet I can't say I liked the movie - I certainly wouldn't want to watch it again. It's passionate but very intense and disturbing. It's gory, it will make you cringe. It's good cinema but something you will want to watch to get entertained. It's not a feel-good movie like 'The King's Speech' and is completely stripped of humor. Having said that, I would definitely recommend watching it for Natalie Portman and the direction.