Mind-bending. Seductive. Masterpiece. Intoxicating. Extraordinary.
We are taken on a journey with Nina who is a ballet dancer within a company and would give anything for the lead role as the swan queen in the theatres new production of Swan Lake. But does Nina have what it takes to be the black swan? According to director Thomas she is perfect for the white swan. We are then taken on the journey with Nina of self discovery and sexual awakening. This is a must in order for Nina to find the Black Swan from within. She must be seductive in that role as the black swan steals the prince from her twin the white swan. Nina struggles so much with the transformation as she is more focused on being perfect, than being able to let herself go and become the black swan as well.
Lily a new dancer to the company is immediately seen as a threat in Nina’s mind, this also adds to Nina’s downfall along with her struggle to comfortably become the black swan. We slowly see Nina losing her mind and we have no idea what is real and what she has created. This has to be part of the brilliance of the film, having the audience doubting actions and being unsure of what is her real life. Some scenes maybe viewed as shocking and unexpected.
I have really struggled in writing a review for this film it has been just over a week since I saw the film and been trying since then to actually form a review which makes sense. Which is much easier said than done, with the film being so complex and in a way complicated.
Nina still lives with her mother which is something you have to remember in the characters breakdown, her mother is still very over protective and still treats her as a small child. Her bedroom still looks as though a young child lives there with lots of cuddly toys and ballet things. A massive turning point has to be when she throws everything away. Obviously a big talking point about dancers is eating disorders, I could not make my mind up if that was suggested in this film for Nina, or it was just the incredible amount of stress she was putting herself under.
Beth who was Thomas’ princess and recently ‘retired’ from the stage, keeps entering Nina’s mind. This helps us see that Nina does not want to go out the same way Beth did, adding to her stress of being perfect for the opening of Swan Lake. Everyone around Nina influences everything about her life, she seems to feel that everyone is out to get her and sabotage her dream.
Something which made this film have an extra creepy factor for me was the use of mirrors. With dancing in rehearsal they use them a lot, so it really added an edge. Especially when we see Nina in the mirror move. Yes stuff like that really does creep me out, so I kept expecting something to happen every time I saw the mirrors.
Performance wise the entire cast really complimented each other well and brought out the best in each other. Portman really was just incredible in this film putting in an unreal performance, she has totally deserved all the praise and awards for this film. I really do think she will be walking away with the Oscar. Barbra Hershey’s performance was terrifying as Nina’s mother, maybe the way she looks now attributed to that. I had no idea it was Hilary from Beaches! Winona Ryder and Mila Kunis were also fantastic in their respected roles.
After seeing this film I really do now want to see a performance of Swan Lake!