image from screenrant.com
RANT: Still another trip to the theater leads to another rant about the lack of etiquette during the show. I was happy as a pig in slop, enjoying the aisle seat with 3 empties to my left. After the previews started, a mass of people continued to funnel in. All passed me by for seats higher up. I ended up with a pair of 20-something girls who talked through the whole movie – as if they were 10-year-olds. If you want to add a commentary track, watch it at home on bootleg!
SYNOPSIS: A career dancer is desperate to be selected for the lead in a surreal production of Swan Lake. Cast to play both the White Swan and Black Swan, she must embrace both the frailty and vulnerability of the white and the seductive, darkness of the black – to destructive results.
Director Darren Aronofsky, best known for The Wrestler and The Fountain, brings a surreal, twisted version of Swan Lake to the screen through Black Swan. Educating us in the story of Swan Lake itself, the story also serves as the backdrop for Nina Sayers' (Natalie Portman) journey. After being in the ballet dance company for several years, she is a veteran dancer dedicated and driven to be cast in the main role of a ballet production. She is technically perfect but lacks emotional passion. When she is tasked to play the Black Swan role in addition to the White Swan, production director Thomas (Vincent Cassel) forces her to let go of the mechanics of the dance and focus on the fluid chaos of the darker role.
But the role of the Swan Queen (both White Swan and Black Swan) is only the catalyst that drives all that follows. Seeming to be unable to let go of her vulnerabilities, Nina notices the new carefree transfer dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis). Jealous of Lily's abilities, Nina is both worried that Lily will take her role and strangely drawn to her spirited nature. In Nina's personal life, she is a slave to her mother's will - a once-promising ballet dancer forced to end her career while pregnant with Nina. In addition, Nina is torn about Thomas' previous leading lady, Beth (Winona Ryder) who is being forced into retirement due to her age and poor performance attendance.
As the opening performance looms closer, Nina is puzzled by strange occurrences on and off stage. She finds both her mind and body betraying her. Is she slipping into madness? Is she destroying her frailty in favor of a new darker, erotic self? Is she actually becoming the black swan? Art and life and art intertwine, the audience never knowing what is real and what is surreal.
I cannot recommend this movie to everyone. It is brilliant, shedding light on the brutality of the preparation and the beauty of the performance. Black Swan is erotic, suspenseful and beautiful. But it may cross the lines that some patrons may be unwilling and not ready to face.