Having huge expectations for this film, coming out of the theatre I was slightly dissappointed. Natalie Portman was absolutely phenominal in her role as Nina, but it was quite disturbing to me. I’m one to rarely get confused by movies, and I enjoy ones that make me think. This movie never reveals itself in the ending, and your mind has to piece together the facts in a way that could be incorrect. Everyone watching it sat there and were asking out loud what was going on in certain scenes. Is this supposed to be ‘cinematic’? To be confused to the point of where you have not a single clue what’s going on? There are aspects that were beautiful, however. I’m also not completely dismissing it, as I’m sitting here thinking about it, the more and more I like it.
Natalie Portman was absolutely breath taking. It’s clear to see how talented she is as an actress when she is applying her makeup and crying one moment, then the next is completely pan-faced. With the amount of takes that it takes to shoot the movie, the fact that she could continue doing scenes of her break downs over and over again were just phenominal. Natalie’s dancing was also beautiful. As a classically trained dancer for 17 years, I know the work and dedication it takes to put into dancing. It was shocking to me that in one year, prior to training she had as a child, could create this sandstorm of a dancer. I was a little dissappointed to know that she had a stunt double for some of the dancing, but it was so realistic that it was Natalie Portman that it was ignored by most. The physical transformation Ms. Portman went through was also grueling to watch. Her rib cage sticking out in her gorgeous white dress she wore at the beginning of the movie was so beyond disturbing. Watching her throw up repeatedly was also hard to witness. Her dedication to the part, losing 20 pounds, was not unnoticed. Like Christian Bale in “The Machinist”, she holds true dedication to physically looking the part that she was playing. I truly hope an Oscar nomination comes her way for this role, I believe it’s a part that she worked so incredibly hard at that must have been tolling on her mind as well as her body. Just watching the clips of her harming herself while dancing, and toiling away, must have been a slight insight to what she really went through training for the movie. I was utterly confused about the intensity of the relationship between her and Mila Kunis’s character. It felt as if everyone around her were living in a different universe, and she was the one going insane. It only started to get clearer when she viewed herself as people walking by, showing that she was getting in the way of her own life. The obsessive desire to be perfect was indeed her downfall. Natalie embodied the white swan, being so fragile and timid in the beginning of the movie, but I never clearly saw the sensual side of her. It wasn’t until the very last scene, as she was dancing the last number, that I truly saw a transformation in her.
Mila Kunis was a force of nature. With reckless abandonment, I actually liked her character better than I liked Natalie Portman’s. I thought she was so natural and so at ease on camera, you’re forgetting that her lines are scripted. She begins to feel like your best friend, and I didn’t see the ‘evil’ aspect of her until certain scenes. I really, really enjoyed her work. I also thought she was stunningly beautiful. I do wish they would have featured more of her dancing, but the scenes that they showed were so pivitol to the plot line that I’m glad they kept it at that. I thought that Mila embodied the black swan. While stating that the intimate scenes with Natalie were awkward, she did it was ease. I believe that a best supporting actress nomination would be something to keep in mind for her..
The cinematography was what made this movie what it was. With the soundteam working hard at creating spooky soundings and whispers rushing by, it kept the audience on edge. The striking costumes were marvelous, with the make up on the black swan at the end being the absolute best part of the movie for me. The underlying message as Natalie turns into the black swan while doing her fouettes were so moving that it made the entire movie worth watching. You have to be keenly watching the film to understand all of the messages that are constantly being thrown at you. The editing was also fantastic, with the perfect color balance to it and the repetitive use of black vs. white, the theme of good against evil.
All in all, after writing this review, I discovered the movie wasn’t as bad as I thought. It bore a resembelance to “Fight Club” to me, and I believe that movie is far over-rated. Without the witty ending of “A Beautiful Mind”, I believe that this is indeed a psychological thriller, but in a different sense. I believe it’s got a sad twinge to it. Someone that wanted it all, could have had it all, but lost it because of herself. How many people can say they’ve gotten in the way of their own destiny before? Anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves, and everyone else. Was she evil? Did the role transform her? You must see the movie and decide for yourself.