Just in time for the Oscar award announcements, I watched Black Swan at a local movie theater Saturday night. Minor spoilers follow; if you prefer no details about the movie, don’t read any further!
It could have been a great movie. It’s especially disappointing to me as Darren Aronofsky created my favorite movie, Pi which also had themes of success and paranoia.
What went wrong:
– Heavy handed
Yes, we get that the lead character may be having issues with perceiving reality. You don’t have to spell it out in movie cliches.
– Boring archetypes
Egotistical ballet company leader. Infantalizing stage mother. Washed up predecessor. Sexually permissive free spirit = grace. Technical talent = frigidity. Zzzzzz.
– Bad use of fear/horror
During what were supposed to be scary scenes, I was laughing (as was about 15% of the audience.) Is this a camp gay film?!? I foresee this playing the Castro in the future with a floor cast.
What went right:
A good crew. I found it interesting that the four main characters (Portman, Kunis, Hershey, and Ryder) are all Jewish. (disclosure: it is suspected (but not confirmed) that I am 1/4 Jewish.)
The movie felt claustrophobic, just as paranoia shrinks ones world.
Is it me or was it meta to cast Winona Ryder in the role of former ingenue?
Did Portman deserve the Oscar? I don’t think the part, as written and directed, tested her range. Her physical transformation (ala Raging Bull) and her dancing were remarkable.
Summary: 2 of 4 stars.