Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky, is intense, to say the least! Set in the world of ballet, a NY dance company is doing Swan Lake with a new leading lady, Nina Sayers, played by Natalie Portman. Natalie Portman is absolutely AMAZING in this role. She’s a shoe-in for nominations this award season. Nina is fragile, determined, and a perfectionist. It’s a tough combination, one which makes her, and the audience, question her sanity. The ballet business is cut-throat, and obviously physically demanding. We see the nitty gritty of it, and the toll it takes on the lives of the people involved.
The whole cast is so good. Mila Kunis plays Nina’s rival, Lily. Barbara Hershey is Nina’s controlling stage mother. Vincent Cassel runs the company.
The whole look of the movie works. It’s over-the-top and hard to distinguish what is real from what is fantasy. There’s a theme of duality, black and white, that plays through the film – it’s compelling, and so well done.