The Black Swan  (108 min)        

This movie is intense all the way through and it had my heart racing throughout its entirety. From the bulimia to the scratching and cutting of herself, Natalie Portman perfectly portrays a ballerina who is overly obsessive over getting a part in a ballerina act and who obsesses about technique and nailing down her role perfectly. She is trying for the role of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake. She must conquer two parts of her role with the White Swan, who is beautiful and majestic as well as the Black Swan, who is dark and fierce in a sensual way; two polar opposites. The problem isn’t playing the White Swan, as she plays that perfectly through every technique. It is the Black Swan that she has a problem portraying because of the darkness of the role. She is too nice and too perfect; she cannot let herself go. She cannot release herself enough to play the role perfectly and it drives her insane to the brink of insanity. She is wound up tighter than a top. Another dancer comes into the picture and tries to get her to live a little. This just ends up putting her over the edge. All the stress from her hard-nosed director, played by Vincent Cassel, to her over obsessive mother, played by Barbra Hershey, overflows wildly in her. The movie graphically portrays the mental and physical strain that some ballerina dancers go through just to get the technique down for their part in the play. Director Darren Aronofsky, also the director of the acclaimed film, The Wrestler, shows both pains with equal intensity, and horror with the scenes where Portman’s character, Nina, is shown cracking her toes and other joints just to get a certain technique down. There are also very intense and often scary scenes where Nina begins to hallucinate as the stress and paranoia in her mind begin to collide. These scenes are shown with true horror and graphic detail and Portman is brilliant in portraying that in a more real way. As the other girl Lily, also played brilliantly by Mila Kunis, is taken more notice of by the director, things begin to spiral out of control. She becomes insanely paranoid to the point where she begins to panic and hallucinate. All she wants to be is perfect. But everyone knows that nobody is perfect. That is intimately shown in the “Black Swan” with such incredible and masterful performances by all the actors and actresses that it seems like they are striving for perfection as well and I believe that they have reached it in this film. I guess perfectionism is shown at its worst as well as at its best in “The Black Swan”. “The Black Swan” is R rated for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use.