Nina (Natalie Portman) is a dancer in a struggling ballet company. Its director Thomas (Vincent Cassel) decides to put on a version of Swan Lake where the White Swan and the Black Swan are played by the same person. Nina auditions like everybody else, but in her need to control everything, she never seems to be able to really get the sensual seduction of the Black Swan. The pressure on her rises – from Thomas, from new company member Lily (Mila Kunis) with whom Nina strikes up a competition, from Nina’s mother Erica (Barbara Hershey), but most of all from Nina herself.
My expectations for this film was way, way, way up high. Not only is it the newest film by Aronofsky and stars two of my favorite actors (Portman and Cassel) and I hadn’t heard a single bad word about it in advance. Expectations couldn’t get any higher. And how completely satisfying is it that all of them were met?
Black Swan blew me away. I don’t think I can say anything else about it. Maybe I should just leave it at that but that would probably be the worst review I’d ever written. So, let the gushing commence.
The movie had me absolutely entranced. The combination of the wonderful visuals (I didn’t even mind the shakycam), the costumes, the soundtrack (Clint Mansell und Tchaikovsky, a match made in heaven), the cast, the story – it felt like I didn’t breathe for the entire time I was in the cinema.
Natalie Portman is unsurprisingly brilliant. And when I say brilliant, I mean utterly fantastic. If there was anybody left not convinced that she’s a great actress, there is no way they could have seen this film and not think it then. Vincent Cassel was good, Barbara Hershey was creepiness personified. Mila Kunis proved that she needs a strong director, but then she can be quite talented.
And Aronofsky showed us yet again that he’s amazing at what he does. It doesn’t matter what the story requires you to feel – be it horror, fear, heartbreak, excitement, amazement, … – he is there, making sure that you will feel it.
I know the year is still young – but if this movie doesn’t make my best of the year list in December, this has to be the best year in filmmaking ever.
Summarising: See it. Just bring some chocolate.