A Dark and Creepy Quest for Perfection

Finally, finally, finally we saw Black Swan yesterday.

I'm excited to report that it was fantastic!

Darren Aronofsky's latest film proved to be just what I had hoped.  It is dark and a bit creepy (exactly how I like my movies).  There is enough dancing to keep a ballet enthusiast happy but not so much that its story plays second fiddle.  While I wouldn't declare it to be Natalie Portman's best performance ever (she's just got a body of work that's too astounding to make a statement like that), she is utterly believable in the role of a young ballerina and was brilliantly cast.

The story centers on Portman's character, Nina, who lands the coveted Swan Queen role in her company's staging of Swan Lake.  The film follows Nina's decent into madness as she chases that ever illusive artistic "perfection."  Expectations piled on her by those around her are only intensified by her own lofty goals (and perhaps her caloric deficiency).  All this makes for the perfect fodder for Aronofsky's twisted sensibility. One dark turn after another leads the film to an ending that I hoped might be less literal, but proved to be satisfying none the less.

What I liked so much about Black Swan is that it is clearly an art house film, but the viewer doesn't walk away saying, "I'm not exactly sure what the director was trying to communicate."  You don't have dig too deeply for symbolism or read miles between the lines to understand the film's message.  The story, while perfectly placed in the competitive world of the performing arts, is one that isn't too far out of the viewer's everyday experience.  To push oneself to achieve "perfection" in any arena is a struggle faced by many.  Where Nina differs from "everyman" is what makes Black Swan so entertaining.  What Aronofsky does so brilliantly here is to take that ordinary struggle and push it to its most fantastic and extraordinary limits and present his visual interpretation of a bizarre descent into madness.

I would consider Black Swan to be a must see.

Have you already or do you intend to see the film?