Natalie Portman has already signalled this is a brilliantly acted film, by winning the Golden Globe award for best actor in a female role. She deserves it. Her portrayal of Nina Sayers, an emotionally fragile ballerina, desperately trying to prove she has the physical and emotional skill to play the lead in 'Swan Lake' whilst descending into her own hell is nothing short of mesmerising. It is painful to watch as she attempts to become a more sensual person, a part of her that she has locked away. Her attempts are thwarted by her overbearing stage Mum, (Barbara Hershey, oh what have you done to your face?) and possibly by the new, loose limbed -and moralled- Lily, a perfect Mila Kunis. As if that isn't bad enough, Nina also has to cope with a seductive svengali, Vincent Cassel who is repulsively attractive to her, and the figure of what she will inevitably become, the aging dancer Beth Macintyre (lines chewed up by Winona Ryder). In some ways, the theme is reminiscent of 'Shutter Island', but not as rich in depth or storytelling as that masterpiece. The film is extremely dramatic, a reminder of the productions of the 1950's although far more explicit, and I mean that in every sense of the word. As Nina loses her grip on reality, she suffers from visions of hideous self-harm and imagines she is, in fact, transforming into a swan. It's also a fascinating insight into the mysterious world of ballet and the dancers that are so dedicated to their art.
The ending is absolutely spectacular. It's very hard to believe that Natalie Portman is not a prima ballerina, she embodies the role, and the movements so beautifully. It's a film that's hard to watch, as was The Wrestler (also directed by Darren Aronofsky). There are very obvious comparisons between the black and white swan and the demons smothering Nina, and the implication of the mirrors everywhere is fairly self explanatory. It's a really thrilling and entertaining movie, just not first date material. In fact, don't go and see this movie with anyone that you don't know that well, you may end up feeling that you've also descended into your own personal hell. I have thought long and hard about this movie since my initial blog, and have decided to make the unprecedented step of downgrading my rating. I know, I really live life on the edge. It was an 8, but the more I think about it, it's only really worth a 7, I quite frankly can't see what all the fuss is about. BLACK SWAN: Duck down to your local movie theatre and have a gander. 7/10.