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Black Swan (2011): A movie review

By Edited Jul 21, 2016 2 0

The Black Swan is the latest and brightest 'feather' in director Darren Aronofsky’s hat. The completely flawless technical mastery of Aronofsky and Natalie Portman’s perfect performance surely makes this one of the best psychological thrillers ever made. Natalie Portman gives the best performance of the year and definitely one of her career’s best performances.

The story revolves around Nina (played by Natalie Portman), a fragile ballet dancer. Nina lives a secluded life obsessed with the idea of playing the Swan Queen from the Magical legend of the Swan Lake (originally written by Tchaikovsky) in its ballet adaptation. Her only family is her over protective mother (played by Barbara Hershey), who is an ex-ballerina and whose past is kept away from the viewers at distance from where we can only guess and speculate. Nina finally realises her dream come true when she chosen by the Dance Company’s director to take over a retiring dancer, Beth (played by Winona Ryder). She takes over the role of 'prima' for the new Lyrical reproduction of Swan Lake. Nina is an eloquent dancer but her moves are only graceful and delicate.

Though she fits best for the role of the White Swan, she is completely misfit for the aggressive, cunning and ambitious Black Swan, the White Swan’s twin sister. Her director, Thomas (Vincent Cassel), impels her to explore her darker side to fit in the twin role of the Swan Queen and Black Swan. Thomas’s goading and a new dancer in the company, Lily, ignites the passion and ambition of her darker soul. And pushing all boundaries comes forth the Darker Nina and the Black Swan.

Black Swan is layered with psychoanalysis, psychosexual analysis, surrealism, deep symbolism and the plot is rich with thematic undertones. Nina is ridden with an obsession for perfection. Playing the lead in the Swan Lake is the metaphor for perfection as a ballerina. She achieves this obsession of perfection in the end but her obsession fuels her vices. Her vices overpower her virtues and the struggle between being the White Swan or being the Black Swan. She keeps scratching herself, her back keeps peeling her skin and torturing herself. And finally she destroys herself.

According to Freudian concepts of psychoanalysis the Black Swan implores the themes of obsession, compulsions, inhibitions, female sexuality and fractured identity. The surrealist portrayal of Nina’s (the protagonist) madness is magnificent. Nina shows sign of initial schizophrenia and psychosis and with the events in her life it worsens. She is unable to bear the pressure to perform and to outperform anyone else. She is incapable to split her personal self from her professional self.

For Nina to act evil means to be evil. She starts hallucinating; she is delusional and loses rationality. Her ego betrays her and the 'Id' is overpowering her psyche; her instinctual desires are winning over her conscience. There is a continuous struggle between the id and ego in many characters in this movie. Nina’s mother as well as the dancer she replaces, Beth, this strife is present in both of them.

Nina’s mother has tried to keep it control and she has succeeded to a great extent. Beth tries to destroy herself and Nina follows her in her footsteps just as she did professionally. Her personality shifts poles; from being inhibited, calm and composed she metamorphoses to wild, overtly sensuous, violent and unpredictable.
I recommend this as a “Must-Watch” for all those lovers of Psychology and Literature. This is an awesome movie and Nina, her mother, Beth and Lily are some of the best examples for the study of psyche.

Link :- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0947798/
Rating : 8.6/10



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