So, the deal is, if Natalie Portman stars in a movie, I am instantly intrigued. I am and have been a huge fan since I saw her talk about Anywhere But Here on Oprah. I thought she was super-pretty and smart and I still think that, of course.
The first viewing of the Black Swan trailer, I was hooked. I was super curious, and only slightly frightened and disturbed. This was the first time I had ever seen Natalie in a film like this, with so much depth and layers and darkness. When watching the movie, I couldn’t help but think how…small she was (obviously physically, weighing less than 100 pounds, oi, but emotionally too). She is the movie, but she speaks a lot less then you’d think. You’ll be surprised. She is so quiet, delicate…like a little girl who has yet to grow up. And yet, she has this dark sexuality, another first for Natalie (who wasn’t allowed/wouldn’t do sex scenes for a large portion of her career). Obviously quite a few of her roles have involved a bit of sexuality (like her stripper role in Closer, one of my favorite movies ever, but even then it is all talk, no action), but this was raw. There’s an awkward reality to it, the way she feels, expresses, and bottles it up. Obviously, she is a perfectionist. And when you strive to be perfect, you may seem contained and in control on the outside, but you are fighting a constant battle inside.
I’m not going to give anything away. I read a few reviews out of curiosity in magazines before I saw it, but I don’t like to know too much going in. And I think, if you’re going to see this, you should go in sort of blind. I will warn you though: This isn’t just a pretty movie about a ballerina who’s undergoing some pressure with a lead role. It’s, pardon my French, fucked up.
Your blood will pump…your heart might race a little. I will tell you that, until the credits rolled, I could barely breathe. For a movie that was about 2 hours long, I felt like I was in the theater for 20 minutes. It starts off slow, but moves rapidly from there. Things spiral. You might get confused. And I heard a woman, as we were leaving the theater, say “Let’s never talk about that one again.”
I came in knowing clips from the trailer and a few tidbits I’d read in a magazine. But, I also am aware of the work of Darren Aronofsky (see here. I still refuse to ever watch Requiem for a Dream. But The Wrestler was fantastic(ly depressing)). So, I was expecting to be shaken up. It’s a psychological thriller. I mean, they are telling you that in the previews. But seriously…your brain will be thrilled.
I couldn’t speak about it for a while after. The floodgates are slowly opening now. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone wanting to see it, but be prepared for a trip.