After a few failed attempts to see the movie, (including standing in line at the tiny theater at Lincoln Plaza in the cold only to get to the front and notice the “Cash Only” sign followed by the clerk immediately posting an “All Shows Sold Out” sign) I finally saw Black Swan this past weekend. And all I can say is, it was definitely worth the wait — I loved this movie for its intensity, twisted plot, and dark beauty.
Unfortunately for you if you are on the fence about seeing it, aside from labeling it as an indie-thriller filled with breathtaking ballet, I can’t tell you too much more about it. It’s one of those movies that’s best seen without knowing a lot about it or watching the trailer too many times. (Sidenote: I prefer not watching trailers and promos in general, because I feel like the movie-watching experience is so much more fun when you have no idea what to expect or any of the funny/scary/shocking moments.) With Black Swan, this definitely held true.
While I won’t give away much, what I can tell you is that the film stars Natalie Portman as a New York ballerina who has spent her life perfecting her skills as a ballerina at a dance company at Lincoln Center. Perfecting is the key word — her road to perfection is an intense journey that keeps you on the edge of your seat and plays out during the film with antagonists like Lily, a fun-loving bad girl ballerina played by Mila Kunis (who I have had a major girl crush on since Forgetting Sarah Marshall, by the way); Thomas Leroy, the school’s sexuality-obsessed director played by Vincent Cassel, and her controlling, overprotective mother, played by Barbara Hershey.
The dancing itself is, in one word, beautiful. I wasn’t sure if it was just because I don’t have a professional eye and it just looked pretty, but I read online and saw that many professional dancers were shocked at what a fantastic job both Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis did, especially considering the fact that neither of them have been dancing since they could walk like most true ballerinas (and the amount of weight both had to lose for this film? Crazy!) I walk by Lincoln Center often, yearning to see my first ballet there and wondering about the lives of the perfect ballerinas who dance inside. But this movie had me feeling like perhaps that perfection isn’t so enviable.
I left the theater in a daze with my mouth hanging open and my mind reeling, trying to figure out every little bit of the plotline. And a few days later, I still am. It’s the type of movie that you want to dissect with your friends over dinner afterward and Google around as soon as you get home to try to find an interview with the director immediately.
Definitely two thumbs up from the 36th Floor!