Directed by Darren Aronofsky’s and starring Natalie Portman the Black Swan is a kind of modern-day fairytale (more Brothers Grimm). It is advisable to suspend all belief all who enter into the film and just sit back and enjoy.
Henpecked Nina, a delicate flower in a hothouse of casting couches and farfetched scenarios, pirouettes between fantasy, reality and surrealism. Suspend belief when you watch this film and drift with the flow and you will really enjoy the experience. The dancing itself is amazing – with Portman so lithe and graceful. Nina’s spirit and sensibilities display their frailties when she lands the dual roles of Black and White swans Odile and Odette. The twin roles test her endurance, sexuality, and duty towards her mother’s belief in her and her obsession to please her mentor and musical director Thomas. Amidst a backdrop of beautiful music and swans the dance plays on whilst poor fragile Nina slowly unravels.
Reality versus unreality in this film and its hard to see the seams between whats real and what isn’t and that’s the strength of the film. It is this that gives the film it’s fantasy edge which include skin shedding, drug taking, the exploration of sexuality and self-mutilation – to name but a few ingredients. This is however no mish mash nor are the scenes gratuitous, they all contribute to the beauty and darkness and pain of this unusual film – extremely out of the ordinary.
One of the first things I noticed about the film is how well Natalie Portman dances, but what I didn’t know until the night of the BAFTA’s (for which Portman won leading Actress) was that Portman had practised ballet for this part for a whole year, Portman and co star Mila Kunis were coached by Georgina Parkinson, a former principal ballerina from the Royal Ballet. who sadly died during filming in 2009, aged 71. A lot has been said about the ‘unhelpfulness’ of stereotyping of the ballet scene and ballerina’s in general, but I think that if you just enjoy the film for its fairytale qualities – then you will love it. The dedication that Portman (and the other dancers) put into their roles and the wonderful music make this film quite nightmarishly thrilling!
Read about and see the amazing make up here
See here for more details