Black Swan

The big question about this movie: Did she die at the end? Here’s my answer. Spoiler alert. I think so.

This movie had no deep meaning for me. As much as I’d like to think that I understand Nina Sayers’ struggle as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake, I have absolutely no connection to her. I’ve wanted things badly before, but I’ve never reached that level of disillusionment to attain them. When it comes down to it, Black Swan is a fun, exciting, thrilling story. That’s it. No real take-away message, other than maybe “Don’t be a ballet dancer.” The only message that would have lingered would have existed if Nina had lived.

Of course, it wasn’t a bad movie. It was incredibly shot, and incredibly acted. The mirrors, the animations, the handheld shots, all of this contributed to the increasingly paranoid, claustrophobic feel of the movie. Bravo, Darren Aronofsky. And Natalie Portman achieved something special in this movie, something that she’ll look back on, I imagine, with equal parts pain and pleasure. She had to sacrifice a lot of her body to pull off this role, to appear as sinewy and starved as a dancer, yet toned and talented as a star. I also loved seeing Mila Kunis in a more serious, dangerous role. That woman is so much more capable an actress than her past comedies have afforded her. And then there was Vincent Cassel. He was everything he was supposed to be: terrifying, seductive, and brilliant.

I think the scariest aspect of the movie, for me, wasn’t the Linda Blair-esque Winona Ryder body in the room, or the scaly feather growing out of her skin, or even the cuticle being ripped from her finger, which definitely did make me cringe. No, it was knowing that a story like Swan Lake was so mainstream, admirable, classic, regarded. I realized that I had never actually seen Swan Lake before, and that this movie was my twisted introduction to it. Knowing what I know now about the show’s darkness and loneliness, I’m not sure I’d actually want to see it. Black Swan, in all its extraordinary terror, was more than enough.

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