S.G. Browne

Movie Review Monday – Black Swan

So we’re kicking off Movie Review Mondays with Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler) and starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.

The first thing I’ll say is that I found the acting to be excellent. I love Natalie Portman and found her portrayal of a fragile ballet dancer who wins the coveted lead role in her company’s production of Swan Lake both believable and heartbreaking. I’m also a fan of Mila Kunis, who brings a dark, playful sexuality to her role as Portman’s would be saboteur. And Barbara Hershey channels Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest as Portman’s controlling and resentful mother.

Without giving away any spoilers, the movie is a mix of fantasy and reality that ultimately becomes a tragic horror film. An odd mix, sure, but you have to remember we’re talking about the same director who helmed Pi and Requiem for a Dream. If you’re expecting a serious, mainstream film, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s more of a surreal art house film with psychological horror tendencies.

The negative reviews for the film have generally described it as over the top, campy, and descending into ridiculousness.  While there are moments of dark humor where the entire audience laughed and made me wonder if that’s the reaction Aronofsky was hoping to get, I was compelled by the tragedy of watching Portman’s character descend into a madness brought on by the pressure of her success. You know it probably won’t end well for her and while you aren’t emotionally invested in any of the characters, it’s still sad to watch.

Next post: Wild Card Wednesday

Filed under: Movie Review Mondays,Movies and Books — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 8:26 am