Black Swan

Rebekah Gordon

The psychological thriller Black Swan tells the tale of Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a ballerina in a New York City ballet company who is chosen to portray the image of both the White Swan and Black Swan in the theater’s production of Swan Lake. While trying to acquire the lead as Swan Queen, Nina finds a dark side to herself that she never knew existed.

Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder), the current star of the prestigious New York City ballet, is retiring just before the next huge production of Swan Lake. The ballet director Tomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) begins conducting rehearsals to find the lead for the production, but he comes to a grinding halt when he finds two women that are both perfect for the lead: Nina and Lily (Mila Kunis). The dilemma is that Nina is better as the White Swan, while Lily is perfect for the Black Swan. Leroy is reluctant to cast Nina for both parts, seeing that she is too perfect and lacks the much needed passion to portray the Black Swan. Yet, Nina is paranoid that Lily is determined to take the lead from her, and thus makes more effort to be perfect for both roles.

Nina’s mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), is extremely overbearing and tries to control much of Nina’s life. She is a failed ballerina, turned amateur artist, who believes being Swan Queen is consuming all of her daughter’s life. She thinks that it is too “dangerous” for her. These worries seem to be substantial, especially when Nina starts to display a number of psychotic symptoms and visual hallucinations as she competes with Lily to gain the title of Swan Queen.

Nina’s hallucinations progressively get worse, especially when she hallucinates about Lily multiple times, believes that her mother’s paintings are mocking her, and when she pulls out what appears to be a black feather growing out of her skin. Nina’s eyes seem to turn into reddish swan eyes and her legs violently contort into the shape of a swan’s at one point in her hallucination’s, as she fights to try to portray and actually become the part of the roll she strives for.

For all you lovers of deranged movies, this one is perfect. You may need to watch it a couple of times to catch everything that Darren Aronofsky, the director of Black Swan, wished to share with viewers. But overall, this movie is a great psychological thriller that is up for many nominations and awards. Be sure to tune into the Academy Awards to see if Portman and Aronofsky win Best Actress and Best Director, along with other nominations.