Last week, I was in a new music mood, so movies took a backseat. However, when shopping at Best Buy last Wednesday evening, I couldn't resist investing $15 for a just released Oscar winning film. I watched it the next morning... and really wished I had gone to see it in theaters.
Prima ballerina Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder) is "retiring" from a New York City ballet company, opening up a lead role in Thomas Leroy's (Vincent Cassel) production of Swan Lake. Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) accurately portrays the White Swan but struggles to show her dark side as the Black Swan. She gets the part. As she works on the show Nina finds herself competing with Lily (Mila Kunis), a dancer recently transferred from San Francisco, who is the epitome of the Black Swan. The two begin a strange, twisted friendship that slowly turns Nina's life in a direction that gives her the edge she needs to perform as the Black Swan.
For anyone that thinks this is a chick flick about ballet, you are sorely mistaken. Yes, ballet is a part of it, but it's mostly about getting so enthralled in a role that, in the end, you find yourself changed. Nina has always been a White Swan, between her discipline as a ballet dancer and her (extremely) overbearing mother (Barbara Hershey). Before she landed the role in the production, Nina was already exemplifying self destructive behavior, by scratching herself and the incident in Thomas' office.
The friendship with Lily brought new experiences to Nina's life, also contributing to self destructive behavior. It's very easy to tell that Nina's mother had sheltered her daughter from a lot of things, like what to watch out for in social situations in nightclubs. Then there is the infamous scene between Lily and Nina... a scene that would be embarrassing to watch on a first date, or with your parents. Add the relationship with the director, the breakdown of Beth's career, and the beautiful dancing, this movie was absolutely brilliant. I'm glad I made the impulse purchase. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars