Black Swan (2010)
I will be rambling about what I liked about the 2010 film, Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman.
There will be spoilers in this blog entry.
In the film there are themes of sexuality, both heterosexual and homosexual, parental abuse, anxiety, perfectionism, paranoia, delusion, hallucinations, self-harm/self-sabotage and menopause(?).
Yesterday I watched Black Swan (2010) with my mother and we both loved it. I first saw a clip from the film and I had to watch the whole thing. It is about an anxious perfectionist ballerina, Nina, who desperately wants the role of both Odette (white swan) and Odile (black swan) in the studio's new showing of Swan Lake. Nina can perfectly dance as Odette, but cannot dance the role of Odile, a dance that needs to be seducing and more expressive. Another woman in the studio, Lily, seems to fit the role of Odile more. Nina is at competition with, essentially, herself; the goal of perfecting her performance as Odile drives her into madness as the film progresses.
I was tense and anxious throughout the entire film. It was so good how they managed to keep the tension all the way through. As a viewer, I could empathise with Nina's situation; the camera movements can get shaky and uncomfortable, such as in the audition scene and the performance of Odile at the end. The camera movements at these times bring us closer to Nina's mental state and perspective, so that we can root for her more as a protagonist, even if she seems to make some bad decisions.
I also love how the story appears to have an unreliable narrator; you aren't entirely sure what events actually occurred and which did not. You could almost feel the anxiety Nina was going through, and wonder if her reactions were justified or not. As someone who sometimes gets anxious to the point where I start getting paranoid of others and question their motives, I related to her on that aspect, maybe not as extreme, however.
Nina's character development is from a "frigid", anxious, innocent and "perfect" woman who needs to "loosen up", into a woman who finally is able to freely express herself. As positive as it sounds, the process of this development is presented as excruciatingly painful; self-sabotaging behavior like skin picking/scratching, drugs and alcohol and bleeding from self inflicted injuries that may or may not be real.
I have seen some interpretations about how her bleeding from the stomach at the end is her "killing" her old self; the self that was holding her back from expressively dancing the black swan. I have seen others say how the bleeding being from the stomach, along with her eye contact with her mother in the audience, is symbolic of the cutting of the umbilical cord... Nina finally being free from the pressure and control her mother was putting her through within most of the film. I like both of these interpretations. Her white and black sides becoming one can be seen an achievement, even if it appears to have caused her, metaphorically, a fatal injury. "I was perfect".
The film, music, special effects and story are extremely beautiful, it made me cry and you should definitely watch it if you're the type who likes psychological thriller/drama. It is free on Amazon Prime (this is not a sponsor xD). I can't believe I haven't heard of this film at all.