I watched this movie a couple of weeks ago and was completely blown away. Get this, my reason for being blown away? The last 2 sentences of the movie. If it wasn’t for that, I would have mentally filed it into my “Decent Movies” folder. As a reminder, the last 2 sentences were: “I did it. I was perfect.” These final few words give the viewer a small window into this deranged ballerina’s psyche and a little understanding of her rationale.
For the record, I try to steer away from reviewing or analyzing American movies because, well, usually it’s already been done 10 times over. I mean, if I was to analyze, say, Inception, wouldn’t you just want to roll your eyes? *Rolls eyes* But this movie, was just amazing and I just had to get my 2 cents in. The reason I was even more amazed is because I had heard all this hype and excitement for this movie. It had already been nominated for 5 Academy Awards and won tons of other awards by the time I got around to watching it. Usually, in the past, by the time I get around to watching a movie that have been over-hyped have always been a major let down for me. (Yea, I’m usually pretty late on the Hollywood movie scene, haha). Maybe it’s because the hype causes you to raise that bar for what qualifies for a “Good Movie” or maybe because the movie really isn’t that great. What ever the reason, this movie definitely did exceed my expectations. After all, before watching the movie, I also had my pre-conceived notions of ‘It’s a movie about a Ballet, how good can it get?’ Boy, was I wrong!
Getting back to the analysis of the movie. Let’s go over some supporting actor analysis and then focus on the main character of the movie.
The mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), is the overly-possessive stage mother who is obviously forcing her failed dreams of becoming a lead ballerina onto her daughter. The hideous drawings in her room of the mysterious girl (we’re never told who the girl is, but I think it’s safe to assume that it’d be her daughter) are chilling and enough to make you dislike her from the get-go.
The “antagonist”, Lily (Mila Kunis), is your normal 20-something girl enjoying life with Ballet being more of a hobby, rather than her passion. Definitely not your stereotypical, overly- disciplined ballerina. I say “antagonist” with quotations because the negativity that is reflected in Lily’s character are the deep, dark projections of Nina (Natalie Portman).
Finally, the company director, Thomas (Vincent Cassel), is the character that seems to play a big part in pushing Nina over the edge. I must say this, however, that I think he is innocent in whatever he does because it is his job as a director to break Nina out of her perfect world so she can play the Black Swan better and he does what he thinks is necessary to get the job done.
When the movie begins, Nina is already evident with signs of her deep-seated emotional problems. She is a 20-something year old living in an 8 year old girl’s bedroom. Right off the bat, the co-dependent and unhealthy relationship between Nina and her mother is noticeable. Her mother dresses and undresses her like she is a child. She has no privacy. To top it all of, she has nothing else outside of Ballet. Signs of Nina’s psychological imbalance begin to manifest when Thomas tells her that she is the perfect White Swan but fails miserably when it comes to the Black Swan. In another scene, he praises Lily’s dancing ability and encourages Nina to learn from her. This is the point where Lily becomes the target of Nina’s negative projections. During the entire movie, Nina tries to awaken the Black Swan within herself to better play the part in the Ballet. As an unfortunate turn of events, the Black Swan begins to appear but as another woman who is herself, to complete this enigmatic out-of-body transformation she undergoes.
The scratching and the self mutilation. This is the sign of the Black Swan within her attempting to awaken and a way for her subconscious telling her that she has it in herself to play the part, that she isn’t the “sweet girl” that her mother would have her believe she is.
Finally, the parallel nature of the climax of the movie that plays along with the opening day showing of the Swan Lake Ballet is just beautiful and ingenious.
Nina is definitely, a victim of a psychological disorder and her personality could be much better dissected by a psychologist. Too bad, that’s not me haha.