Release Date: December 1, 2010
Website: Official Black Swan site
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey
My Review: After watching the trailer for Black Swan, I had a reaction similar to the one I had to the trailer for Never Let Me Go: “I have to know what’s going on in this crazy movie!” Which, in a nutshell, is exactly the reaction a movie trailer is meant to elicit, so, well done, Black Swan movie trailer editors!
When I first heard that director Darren Aronofsky was setting a thriller in the world of professional ballet, I was a bit perplexed. I enjoy movies about the performing arts, but I realize that I’m in the minority with that opinion. And ballet isn’t really what I would consider prime thriller fodder. So how was he going to make a movie like this and have it be appealing to anyone?
By getting two young, talented, and gorgeous actresses to star, and have a whole bunch of crazy crap happen, that’s how.
Natalie Portman is Nina, a hardworking veteran dancer in a professional ballet company in NYC who is looking forward to finally being featured in some more prominent roles; specifically, the Swan Queen in Swan Lake. Enter Mila Kunis as Lilly, a newcomer who catches the eye of the company’s director (Vincent Cassel), who notes her natural and seemingly effortless talent. Nina is shaken to her core as she sees what she’s been working toward for years slipping away, and her panicked paranoia is helped along by her overbearing stage mother (Barbara Hershey) and some bizarrely sinister, Single White Female-esque behavior from Lilly. As Nina’s fears of losing her roles to Lilly escalate, her whole world starts to fall apart, from losing her footing in rehearsal to mysterious changes in her physical appearance.
Creating a captivating psychological thriller is never an easy task, and creating one in the world of ballet even more so. But if done well, this could be a fascinating movie. Professional dancers put themselves through inordinate amounts of stress, both mentally and physically, and there is a relatively small window of time that one can actually work as a dancer, so I can see how even the slightest notion of a threat could cause a dancer to go a little insane. And seeing how in The Wrestler Aronofsky managed to both create a touching drama about professional wrestling and re-launch Mickey Rourke’s acting career, I have to assume that if anyone can make a crazed ballerina movie compelling, it would be him.
Would I Pay For It?: Black Swan will most likely be a rental, unless I hear fantastic reports about it. Or I find that I really can’t wait to find out what’s going on in this crazy movie.