Black SwanStarring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder and some nasty feathers in all the wrong placesRunning Time- 1 hr 50 minutesTomatometer- Critics 88% Audience 86%Awards overall- winner of 48, nominated for an additional 1665 Academy Award Nominations- Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Film EditingI considered writing this review as a simple “go see it. I can’t put it into words. It’s just … impossible to describe.” I have never left a movie feeling so overwhelmed that I had nothing to say- I just made a motion that my head was exploding. Ballet has never been so intense. So bare with me as a I try to describe this experience.The curtain lifts with our ballerina twirling on one foot with only a single spotlight on her as a black feathered figure hunts her. She spins around gracefully yet helpless. We know already it’s going to be a dark movie. We accompany good hearted hard working Nina (played by an exceptional Natalie Portman, in case you haven’t heard yet) into the audition for the new production of Swan Lake. Sometimes they cast a pure innocent white swan, and a sexually charged aggressive black swan, but in this production, the director wants one person to play both roles- the light and the dark. Nina is perfect as the white swan but her director sees potential in her passion and work ethic, and he casts her as the white & black Swan Queen to push her out of the safety of her chorus line nest. As Nina stumbles to find her dark side, she begins to lose herself, and it becomes no longer clear what is reality or theatre, what is right or wrong. The dark and light get blended more and more together as she fights to take flight as the new star of the ballet. Black Swan breaks down the fragility of a ballerina and puts strength, control and desire in a furious fight against one another where nothing really can win.Natalie Portman needs to win this Oscar. She deserves it more than anyone that I can think of, ever. Her commitment to the role is astonishing. I felt like I was watching a real person’s life fall apart. Her performance is so vulnerable, so open. She is Nina. Watching her struggle is uncomfortable at times- we see it all. We cheer for her but know she’s going to fall, it’s just when exactly we don’t know. It’s hard to watch at times because I felt so terrible for what was happening to her. There is this sex scene that is filmed is such a way that it pulls you right into the moment. It’s suggestive and graphic, yet incredibly personal in all the right and wrong ways. The ‘Black Swan’ metaphor could have been totally cheesie and over the top, but because she believed it, we believe it.Similar to the duelling personalities fragmenting on the screen, I can see how people can totally love this movie, or fully hate it. It’s very theatrical. It’s a full blown metaphor movie splashed with reality. It mixes horror and thriller, with absurd and ballet. The White Swan/Black Swan concept is consistent and they push it to very max, which pulled me back into reality at moments, but then Natalie’s performance won’t let you leave as it pulls you deeper and deeper in. There are so many downward turns and such extremes, there is no turning back and when the curtain falls… there are just no words.Oscar odds-Enter white swan. This tops for originality and for being totally mind blowing, absolutely. There’s an incredible wedding of fragments held together with style, cinematography and commitment. It’s a film that is so hard to talk about because there is just so much to talk about. Even the trailer showing Nina pulling out a feather from her shoulder still gives me shivers and swan’bumps- it’s intense and memorable. It’s not a film but a wild experience. All key factors when considering the best. If I had a vote, Black Swan would be it.However- I think the day that Oscar starts growing feathers out of its back would be the day this film wins best picture.Enter black swan- it’s very dark. It’s intensely sexual and twisted in both the physical and mental manner. I left not feeling great about life, but torn about it. People like feeling good about their movie escape and this is not a feel good movie. This film takes time to process. It’s now passed the $100 million mark at the box office based on people feeling they NEED to see it. There is such a buzz going on. At TIFF this year, throughout the entire festival from start to finish, people were talking. “What have you seen? I saw this movie and that…” “HAVE YOU SEEN BLACK SWAN?!” This sort of film deserves recognition for taking the risks that it takes. It redefines going to the movies. I’m still processing what happened, what it says about ambition, and I am forced to question if there is a black swan laying inside all of our good intentions.And hey, it might even get me to go to a ballet.