black swan.

I can’t resist a post on Black Swan; rarely does a movie provoke such thought days after seeing it or inspire heated, passionate discussions.

Before I wax poetic, I should admit that as I was watching the movie, I thought it might be too heavy-handed. I don’t like movies that try too hard to drive a point home, assuming that the audience won’t get it. The recurring motifs of black versus white are omnipresent and unrelenting in Black Swan, particularly as the film progress, and I thought this may be an instance in which the director was condescending towards his audience.

Certainly not so. One, Darren Aronofsky is brilliant and doesn’t have a reputation for pandering to audiences. Secondly, the film is filtered through Nina’s perspective. For her, there is no gray area– an integral component of her rigidity and a reason for her impending madness. The color contrast embodies her dual nature and her inability to transition smoothly between different facets of her personality. She herself is fractured, and her inability to integrate these different facets is well-articulated in the color scheme of the movie. Moreover, the colors of the ballet comprise the palette of the movie, further blurring the line between Nina’s life and her profession as a ballet dancer. Ana at Grown-up Shoes articulated this perfectly here.

Now that I’ve talked you to death, let me convince you to see it.

Black Swan’s stunning, and Natalie Portman does a phenomenal job playing the tense, repressed, and perfectionistic Nina Sayers; the experience of watching the movie is itself an exercise in unrelenting tension. It’s eery, beautiful, disturbing, and yet, you feel a certain empathy for Nina, who’s slowly driving herself mad, unable to discern between reality, fantasy, nightmare, and dream.

Tragic and unbelievably stunning, Black Swan is among the best and most interesting movies I’ve seen this year.

Have you seen it? What do you think? lv, molly

P.S. Because I’m a fan of the ballet Swan Lake, I can’t help but post the following piece; it embodies the tension between the black swan and white swan beautifully.


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