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Black Swan (2010)

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10/10: A beautiful and nightmarish masterpiece
Sunday, September 19, 2010

There are not enough words in the English language to describe the praise Darren Aronofsky deserves for Black Swan. It was one of the most talked about and sought after films at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (which I managed to snag a ticket for), and for good reason – it is a masterpiece that is just as much beautiful as it is nightmarish.Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) has toiled for years within a New York ballet company, always pushing herself. The company has fallen under hard times, and director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) makes the swift decision to put on a new rendition of the classic Swan Lake. With the company's go-to lead pushed into retirement, Nina is quickly selected to be the lead in the new ballet. With competition arriving in the form of new dancer Lily (Mila Kunis), and the demanding desire for perfection from both Thomas and her overbearing mother Erica (Barbara Hershey...

9/10: A seductive masterpiece
Saturday, December 4, 2010

Darren Aronofsky proves once again that he is an absolute genius in the modern world of cinema and he can work in any genre and make it look beautiful, real, visceral, and always keeping with his specific visual style, proving himself to be an absolute auteur. Black Swan is Aronofsky's fifth feature film, and it shows how his directing ability is somehow getting better. The movie is about a ballet dancer, Nina (Natalie Portman), who is dealing with the pressures of playing The Swan Queen in her companies production of Swan Lake. The pressures brought about by this demanding role cause her to begin to slowly crack under pressure, especially when she has to worry about a rival dancer possibly taking her spot. My synopsis doesn't do the film any justice though, and the result of this story is a disturbing and breath taking thriller that combines beauty with visceral intensity, and keeps you on the edge of...

1/10: If you love your ballet - stay away
Saturday, January 22, 2011

When a movie is being hyped to a substantial degree, there is always a risk that this is not exactly due to its merit, but rather part of an aggressive marketing campaign. Rarely has such a phenomena been so obvious as prior to the release of 'Black Swan': the media have been up and running about Portman's real-life romance sparked during its filming, plus pondering the chances of 'Black Swan' establishing ballet as a fashion trend. Still, having been partnered with a dancer for a number of years, I couldn't resist the temptation - as a result of which I have to side with those reviewers here who regard it as an utterly pointless affair.What bothered me slightly were the abundant factual errors in depicting a dance company, although that's where most of the action takes place. Even overlooking the myth of the all-powerful choreographer who can choose his lead at random and at any...

9/10: The price of perfection
Sunday, December 5, 2010

Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is an examination of obsession. Obsession for beauty, fame, and above all, perfection. We are shown glimpses of its splendor, only to be consumed by the ugliness and harsh reality that is the world of professional ballet.Nina Sayers, played by the talented Natalie Portman, is placed in the precarious situation of replacing the company's former star (Winona Ryder), the shining pupil of director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), in the production of Swan Lake. The role is a dual role, in which she must play both the sweet, innocent White Swan as well as her evil twin sister, the Black Swan. Though Nina is best suited for the White Swan, she must find a way to evoke her inner Black Swan.Though all of the ballerinas in the company would kill for her role, the least jealous one, Lily, played by Mila Kunis in a breakthrough performance, has become Nina's biggest rival, catching...

4/10: A young, ambitious,dancer gets chosen for the part of Odette/Odille and the demands of the performance further the unraveling of her psyche
Monday, January 10, 2011

By Linda Winsh-Bolard I don't know why I do this to myself. It is not as if my expectations were high, or hardly any. I was not paid to see it. But I did. It was a dismal experience.A young, ambitious, starved in all meanings of the word dancer gets chosen for the part of Odette/Odille, here called the Queen Swan and the demands of the performance further the unraveling of her psyche.Natalie Portman is Nina, the insecure dancer with controlling mother (Barbara Hershey) and desire for limelight. Mila Kunis is Lily, the equally starved, fun, drug, sex and alcohol loving newcomer. Nina feels threatened by the incomprehensible Lily having just witnessed how brutally the artistic director (Vincent Cassel)dealt with the former company's star, Beth.Nina begins to have odd experience and visions, everything seems suspicious to her. She is getting paranoid. All that while she trains to dance the double part that...

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