Here’s my review of Black Swan:
Directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, Black Swan centers around Portmans’s character, Nina Sayers as a ballet dancer whose entire focus is her craft and yearns to be a prima ballerina. When chosen to be the lead in Swan Lake, The Swan Queen, Nina faces a challenge. Portraying two parts, the innocent White Swan, which she is perfect for, the challenge comes when portraying the sensual Black Swan, a role she struggles with. As Nina, Portman not only transformed her body to bring the perfection her character strives for, but shows the pain and sacrifice that comes with the territory. Strained muscles, popping joints and cracked toenails are shown to make a person squirm, which I did, all in the name of art. A theme Aronofsky explored in his previous film, The Wrestler.
Aronofsky used the same techniques when it came to filming Black Swan. Many scenes are shown while using hand held cameras with continuous shots. There is the familiar tracking shot that faces the back of the lead as they walk through scenes. One gets the feeling there was no plan and the filmmakers began rolling on the spot, but if you pay close attention to the scenes in the rehearsal room with mirrors that clearly is not the case. Meticulous planning went into the scenes and they work perfectly as we watch the actors demonstrate the training they undertook. Kunis has grown far beyond her television days, but this is Portman’s film. The emotions and fears she portrays as the timid Nina work so well for an actress who is known as a strong and confident woman. Half of me wanted to protect while the other half wanted her to grow a back bone. When she does grow one it’s a frightening, beautiful metamorphosis which has elevated her as an actress. This film is worth watching, the experience is one not to be missed.