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Review: Black Swan

As is said in the film, ballet isn’t for everyone and neither is Black Swan, which really should be considered an honor more than anything. The film is overwhelming in every sense of the word and could just be too much for some to handle. But, if you have what it takes to absorb this wild mixture of personalities, visuals and nightmares, the result is profound. This is easily one of the most emotionally impactful films of the year and is something that will certainly haunt you long after the credits roll in the best possible way.

Natalie Portman is Nina Sayers, a professional ballet dancer desperate to be in the spotlight. When the lead dancer in her company, Beth (Winona Ryder), is forced to retire, Nina finally gets the opportunity to audition for the lead role in their production of Swan Lake in which the White and Black Swans are played by the same performer. When the director, Thomas (Vincent Cassel), tells Nina she’s a natural for the role of the elegant and pristine White Swan, but lacks the natural sensuality required to play the Black Swan, Nina’s only chance to get the part is to give into Thomas’ sexual advances.

Once Nina is named the Swan Queen, the pressure to perform consumes her. Not only is her ex-ballerina mother (Barbara Hershey) keeping an incessantly watchful eye on her, but Nina herself must keep an eye on her competition, specifically the new free-spirited performer Lily (Mila Kunis). Lily embodies everything Thomas imagines the Black Swan to be, something Nina cannot achieve no matter how much she rehearses. As opening night draws near, Nina’s obsession with perfection becomes increasingly suffocating, disturbing and dangerous.

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