The Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky’s   Black Swan is a psychological thriller, one that will haunt the watcher for some time.  “I had the craziest dream last night about a girl who was turned into a swan”, says Natalie Portman’s voice-over. The whole movie is, in a sense, that nightmare.

The movie begins with the narration of the story of the Swan Lake. Trapped in the body of a white swan, all she longed for ever was freedom. Only true love could break the spell. She finds true love in the form of a prince. But her evil twin, the black swan manages to seduce the prince before the spell could break. Heartbroken, the white swan jumps off a cliff and in death does she find freedom….

 The movie relates the story of Nina, a ballet dancer competing for the lead role in the ballet swan lake. She lives with her retired ballerina mother who zealously supports her daughter’s professional ambition. More because her own professional ambitions were never fulfilled. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Though she perfectly encompassed the fragility and innocence of the white swan but she lacked the seduction and sensuality of the black swan which even her perfect technique wasn’t able to make up for. Lily on the other hand was the personification of the black swan. The challenge however was to portray both the roles of the white and the black swan. To fulfil the role of the black swan Nina must delve deeper into her darker side. As she progresses with her rehearsals, she slowly slips into deeper delusions with reality and the swan lake fusing together in a tandem of chaos. On the final day of her performance her transformation is complete. The white swan was now the black swan. And she loses herself completely in the role play to an extent that she ends up stabbing herself. And finally as the curtains fall amidst a round of applause, she achieves perfection in death.

Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Nina the ballet dancer with a vulnerable mind is excellent. Mila Kunis as her competition at the company for the role plays her part well. The casting is near perfect be it Leroy (Vincent Cassel)  or Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder)  or Erica (Barbara Hershey) . Her dancing is impressive, too  and shot “sufficiently brilliantly” especially in the opening and closing scenes. What actually adds on to the haunting effect of the movie is the background music by Clint Mansell. It enhances the feeling of turmoil that threatens to seep right into your mind. This movie is a must watch…..

Swagata Dutta

I am a college student who writes as a hobby....

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