Gee, Black Swan Bewilders and Scars

21 Dec

My brain is still trying to wrap its way around the shocking and beautiful film that is The Black Swan.  While I don’t fully understand all of the facets of the movie, I think that’s the point.

I am in awe of Natalie Portman’s ability to embody two extreme versions of one deep and complicated character as Nina.  Reality is indistinguishable from Nina’s illusions, and she is her own worst enemy.  Under the influence of those around her including her ballet instructor and obsessive mother, she puts an exorbitant amount of pressure on herself to attain perfection.  In this quest, she loses her own identity.  She has been taught to suppress her personal desires and needs for so long that she is afraid to explore rebellion and discover a darker side to herself.

While the film portrays the ultimate depiction of one’s self as the worst enemy, it highlights the external forces that shape the threat of that self.  For Nina, her antagonistic alternate identity took the shape of a dark, vindictive and violent “black swan” that the real Nina had so feared in her sweet and quiet life.

Between the blood and the disturbing self-revelations, the film left me utterly speechless.  I can’t say that I would want to see it again any time soon, but it without a doubt made me think and shook up my perceptions of reality (which is much more than I can say for a lot of plotless, trying-too-hard movies these days).

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