Sunday, February 6, 2011

Black Swan

The story of Black Swan (directed by Darren Aronofsky) is told from the unreliable point of view of a ballerina, Nina (Natalie Portman), who is given the lead role in Swan Lake. She experiences stress, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations as she prepares for the opening night performance in a high-pressure environment. Nina’s psychological ordeal is worked out in great detail and shown as her subjective reality. Portman is quite good, as are supporting players Mila Kunis and Barbara Hershey as the domineering mother.

Some reviews criticize the movie for being emotionally overwrought, which strikes me as complaining that it succeeds at what it is trying to do. A more reasonable criticism is that the movie offers little relief from its relentlessly feverish emotional tone. Black Swan feels like a self-indulgent student film, a well-done feature-length student film. For those who have seen a few student films, this will be overly familiar ground.

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