Movie Review – Black Swan
Today was Hollywood Day for my friend visiting from Vietnam. Black Swan was a clear choice for us both as we both adore Natalie Portman. I was also curious to view Darren Aronofsky’s work, since I had met and known him briefly when I worked at the American Film Institute.
The film has already received great reviews, awards and Oscar nominations; I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype.
My first words when the film ended were, “Bravo, Darren. Well done.” I’m not sure there was anything about this movie I didn’t like. Natalie turned in a wonderful, magnetic performance and the story was rock-solid, sucking me into the dancer’s dramatic world and character Nina’s twisted soul.
I loved the camera work and unique close-up angles, plus the hard-to-get shots in a room full of mirrors as Nina twirled and spun in practice. Sound effects with her breathing and beating heart, were all soft undertones which helped heighten the drama.
Under Darren’s direction, Natalie Portman shined, as did the supporting cast. Winona Ryder, while only briefly on screen gave a spot-on performance. Barbara Hershey expertly played the over-protective and smothering stage mother, a dancer in her own right, well past her prime and clinging to her own dreams through the life of her daughter.
The story is centered in Nina’s quest for perfection (with her mother’s persistence) and the torture and mental anguish perfection dishes out when one tries to achieve it. Nina sums up the entire production in her last line in the film “I was perfect.” And Black Swan was perfection, indeed.