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Black Swan
The Dime
wilowisp
It's very easy to fall back into the "no writing cause I can't get started" rut, despite my best intentions. And so, a few thoughts on Black Swan.

Yeah, I'm way behind the times yet again. We just saw it last night. I feel trepidation on some comments I'm about to make, because 1. The extent of my Aronofsky experience is Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain and 2. While I have many years experience as a dancer, my sojourn never hit the highs (or perhaps more accurately, lows) of professionals depicted in this film.

That being said, I loved the first half of the movie. I thought it was Aronofsky doing Aronofsky - a raw look into individuals who's lives and flaws make one extremely uncomfortable, but in a way that only lightly treads away from blunt realism. A dancer's life is NOT glamorous - it is physically taxing, emotionally draining and tragically short. There is no real beauty in Nina's world, and while some might decry this as overly stark, it is the conceit of the movie. C'mon, people, it's an Aronofsky film. Any hints of the future troubles are pin-pricks of fleeting grace, rising up for only a moment before disappearing in the struggles of the real world.

The second half I didn't care for as much. Without stumbling into too much of spoiler territory, when things really start to pick up for Nina's mental anguish, the movie unfortunately becomes a little cartoonish. Part of this might be blamed on the choice to underscore these with actual music from Swan Lake, which seems like a choice that should only enhance the themes. When they occur on stage, amidst the theatricality of the dance, they work well. When they occur in more mundane settings, doubled with the extremities of Nina's mental state... well, it loses some of the eerieness (and effectiveness) of the moment.

This is not to say that the actors are inconsistent in the least. I thought that Natalie Portman rightfully deserves all the acclaim. Again, I never was a professional ballet dancer, but I could see the INCREDIBLE amount of training and effort she had to go through. And not only do you learn to dance, you learn to dance IN CHARACTER. When Nina is criticized for being too technical and not passionate enough, I could see that in the movements, and similar goes for her counterpart Lily, played by a Mila Kunis who has come a long way from "That 70s Show". Barbara Hershey as Nina's mother is amazing, creating a fully human character that could have easily fallen into a stage-mother caricature. All of these performances remain solid throughout, even if the film itself struggles under a ridiculous theatricality.

Do I think the second half's issues out weigh it's benefits? Yes. Do these flaws bring down the glory of the first half? Undoubtedly. However, there is such strength in the first half, and there are still such beautiful and heart-wrenching moments in the second half, that the picture is very much worth seeing.

In my opinion at least. The Boy fell asleep.

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I've watched the first... oh, maybe 40 minutes or so? And I was absolutely bored silly. I'm sure I'll try to finish it at some point, but just haven't had the ambition to start it up again because I was so bored by it. :/

Interesting stuff...I'd been wondering if it was worth paying the extra money for to see in a theater, or if we should just Neflix it. I really enjoyed The Fountain (I'm sure you can imagine a dozen or more reasons why), and didn't realize it was the same director.

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