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Black Swan (2010)

A 2010 psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky.

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That's never going blossom if you leave it alone

  • Apr 29, 2011
Thats a nasty scar on her back.  The mom wants her to leave it alone so that it will be safe and sound.  No one will get hurt that way, but you aren't gonna know what your made of if you don't show that wound.  You could get hurt doing that though, but-if you like staying a face in the crowd just keep it covered and leave it alone like your mom told you.  As the movie goes on, that scar grows and spreads, almost like a disease.....

We've all heard the story about that if you cheat on a test, you only cheat yourself.  You may get an A on that test but what would follow would be opportunities that you cannot handle in a job you aren't qualified for and be put into scenarios beyond your meaning.  Things get scarier and more intense until you just don't know what to do with yourself.

Natalie Portman is an aspiring ballet dancer named Nina who is living at home in comfort with her mother.  The mom wanted to be a dancer and had only minor success.  Natalie has a chance to be great but she is too soft and too fridged as people have noticed.  She dresses softly, and pale just blending in with everyone else and barely speaks above a whisper.  She needs help if she wants the lead in the classic ballet of Swan Lake.  The day of the audition, a dark and talented young dancer interrupts her performance and Nina goes home in tears.  The director tells Nina that she is far too delicate to take on the lead in the play which requires spontaneity and sensuality. 

Taking a moment to demonstrate this she is able to land the part but it feels almost as a fluke and a very square peg just went in to a round hole as our heroine goes on a mad quest in the real world to find herself and get the part she wants so badly.  Is she capable?  Is she talented enough?  Can she handle it?  More importantly what is going on?

I always love a movie when it is open to interpretation or where we are left to figure things out instead of being spoon fed the answers to whats going on and leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. 

Did Nina's mom really fail as a dancer or did she get far enough down the hole so to speak and realize what a frightening journey it is and NOT want her daughter to suffer what she did?  Is Mila Kunis the devil to take Nina down that path, or merely inspiration to keep Nina going to the extremes she does and really not that bad just someone else reaching for the same stars that Nina is?  The ending?  Dear God THE ENDING?!  There are so many epic mind-screws in this movie that you can go mad watching it.

Natalie Portman DESERVES her Oscar win for this.  Seeing her agony as she is transformed from a shy little ballerina to a seductive swan is near memorizing.  Pale and meek she grows scary and even after she gets some color in her face and wears some darker clothes you can tell she is a new person.  No more saying sorry to everyone or a proverbial wall flower; Nina is ready to point the finger and make the hard decisions and choices that come with being her new self and this is after she makes a very scary transformation psychologically, sexually and personally.  I don't CARE if she didn't do all the dancing in this movie and that they threatened with taking her award from her.  It's like saying that Arnold didn't really shoot big guns and save the world in his movies and thus he isn't cool, but if you really gotta boil down to no dancing = no Oscar then fine.  Take back some other erroneous wins while your at it.  Al Gore is first.

As I close out, I am reminded of another, similar movie on a much lower plateau then this one: Showgirls.  Another movie about dancing, a scary world, what people will do to survive and how bad do they want fame.  Whereas Showgirls was sleazy, ill and served mainly as an endurance test for many, Black Swan takes the same picture and puts it in a proper frame.  A frame made out of the most beautiful onyx and carved in hell.
That's never going blossom if you leave it alone

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April 29, 2011
well-said, John, very well said. I can tell this film really affected you...I loved it!
April 29, 2011
Yeah it did. I was amazed by this and I didn't think I would be. serious business.
More Black Swan (2010 film) reviews
review by . December 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
4 ½ Stars: Dancing With One's Own Personal Reflections....
Last time Darren Aronofsky impressed me this much was with the film “The Wrestler”; it was a cinematic experience that was filled with a methodical approach, careful calculation, character-driven dualism and compelling drama. Yes, admittedly I was excited to see his latest film “Black Swan” and it wasn’t anything I expected it to be and yet it became so much more. This film is tense, taut, filled with dramatic and horrific logic that will stay with you after the end …
review by . December 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Darren Aronofsky has achieved the impossible: he's made ballet cool. Seriously, get rid of the Best Film award and introduce the Made Something Cool That Was Hitherto Completely Uncool award, and then kick Guy Ritchie squarely in the unspeakables for making Sherlock Holmes.      First, he threw out all that ballet shoe shit and went straight for the jugular, combining Heath Ledger's Joker with Tyler Durden from Fight Club to give us "holy crap it's Natalie Portman": …
review by . January 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I don't admit to being a big Darren Aronosfky fan.  I enjoyed Pi and Requiem for a Dream, but he never became a director that I thought was worth putting on my radar.  He makes intriguing films to be certain, but Black Swan was the first time I saw one of his films and felt blown away by it.  Like I'd just sat through something magical, simple and yet very complex at the same time.  It has its moments where it goes overboard, scenes that go to extremes that, for the most …
review by . January 31, 2011
Ballet is an interesting activity. When done right, it can be mesmerizing and impressive as hell. The physical demands placed on the dancers are enormous (I recall reading a book that described ballet dancers as all being “half-crazed with hunger”), and I can only imagine how heavy the psychological burden must be, especially if you’re not the most stable person in the world to begin with. That’s situation in which a young dancer (Natalie Portman), finds herself in Black …
review by . January 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Haunted! HUNTED!
It’s no theatrical tricks but it certainly set the mood for the entire film. It’s seldom at first scene that I have an idea how to start a review, much less right at the very beginning of the show. Granted, I’ve read a couple of reviews here and there on this movie but I have managed to steer clear of knowing exactly what the movie entails. I know I don’t feel comfortable starting this movie, even though it has tempted me since I got hold of the dvd copy. I managed to steer …
review by . May 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I got this movie on DVD, which was good because even after you watch it, you need to go back and look at certain scenes again to try to determine if they were real or imagined. Portman is a profession ballet dancer vying for the starring role in a new version of Swan Lake in Lincoln Center. Portman is pushed forward by her domineering mother, who herself was a ballerina and keeps reminding Portman that she needed to retire at 28 to raise Portman.    Age is a continuing factor …
review by . April 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****       "Black Swan" is a paragon of psychological filmmaking; a wild melodrama, which was simply made for the sake of its own unique existence. The project was ambitious, and in some ways, I couldn't have seen it working. A film like this being this good just doesn't seem impossible, but then again, go ahead and try telling director Darren Aronofksy what's "impossible". I don't think that the man believes in the word. He's been making films for over …
review by . May 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
When i first saw the commericals for this movie it looked good, but then again its about ballet dancers....booooring right? WRONG! I was shocked and amazed at how much i liked this movie. It was enthralling, sexy, and at some points outright creepy. The movie starts off with Nina, a dancer in the new york ballet who is looking for her break into stardom after being out of the spotlight for several years with the company. When her boss announces that their current star will be retiring and he will …
review by . December 19, 2010
BLACK SWAN is the story of a ballerina driven to insanity by her drive to succeed and to be perfect. It's also one of the more purely fascinating movies of 2010. Natalie Portman gives the performance of her career as Nina, the dancer. Nina has been with the professional ballet company headed by Thomas (Vincent Cassel) for a number of years, and she's hoping this will be the year she gets a lead role. He's reviving SWAN LAKE, and needs a new White Swan/Black Swan. Nina is a technically proficient …
review by . September 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Aronofky's Swan Dive
BLACK SWAN   Written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John J. McLaughlin   Directed by Darren Aronofsky   Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder      Thomas Leroy: Perfection is not just about control.  It is also about letting go.      From my understanding, to be a true ballerina, one must always strive for perfection.  Your toes, your torso, your lines must be just so.  …
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #5
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this movie


Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky. The film stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as ballet dancers in a New York City production of Swan Lake. The production requires a ballerina to play both the innocent White Swan and the sensual Black Swan. Nina (Portman) fits for the White Swan, Lily (Kunis) fits for the Black Swan, and the two compete for the parts. Aronofsky and Portman first discussed the project in 2000, and after a brief attachment to Universal Pictures, Black Swan was produced in New York City in 2009 under Fox Searchlight Pictures. Notable figures from the ballet world helped with film production to shape the ballet presentation. The film is set to premiere as the opening film for the 67th Venice International Film Festival in September 2010. The film will have a limited release on December 1, 2010.

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Director: Darren Aronofsky
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: December 1st, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: Protozoa Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, Fox Searchlight
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Best Picture Nominees 2011


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"Aronofky's Swan Dive"
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