Black Swan

Actors: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder
Directors: Darren Aronofsky
Format: PAL
Language English
Subtitles: English
Number of discs: 1
Classification: 15
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: 16 May 2011

Nina Sayers, played by Nathalie Portman, is a shy young dancer in a prestigious New York City ballet company. It is soon discovered that she still lives with her mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), who also used to be a dancer but gave up her career when she became pregnant at the age of 28. Her mother is constantly treating her like a child and forcing her own ballet dreams on her daughter. The opening show of the season is Swan Lake and auditions take place for the main dancer as the director Thomas Leroy, played by Vincent Cassel, forces the older dancer for the role, Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder) into early retirement. For this famous ballet, the same ballerina must be able to represent the Swan Queen as both the White and Black Swan. The movie is a psychological thriller about a woman who immerses herself into the role as the Black Swan so deeply that she becomes the character she is acting. While Nina is able to play the innocent and delicate role of the White Swan with grace, she lacks the passion needed for the dark and sensual twin. Being a perfectionist, she isn’t able to lose control over herself. Nina asks Thomas, the director, to reconsider her for the role even though the audition ended badly, and he ends up forcing a kiss on her. Here Nina begins to show some spirit as she reacts by biting his lip, which eventually lands her the main role. From here on, we enter to deep into Nina’s psyche as strange incidents begin to occur.

Nina continues to be criticized by the producer for her frigid movement. Thomas tells her to let go of perfection and lose control of herself in the role she is trying to embody. He compares her to a new dancer in the company, Lily (Mila Kunis), who, despite her flawed technique, has the spontaneous quality that Nina lacks. At first, the relationship between them is cold, but then Lily asks Nina to go out with her. Although Nina is usually obedient to her mother’s wishes, she has a moment of rebellion as she decides to go out at night with Lily. In the club, Lily offers her a drug capsule but Nina refuses to take it. So, Lily ends up slipping it into her drink. After they leave the nightclub, they return to Nina’ house where Nina argues with her mother, locks herself in her room, and has sex with Lily. In the morning, however, Nina wakes up alone in bed and late for rehearsal. In the studio, she finds none other than Lily dancing her role as the Swan Queen and is filled with rage. As she confronts her about leaving her to oversleep, she soon discovers that Lily, in fact, had not returned with her but rather with a man she met in the club. Once Nina returns home, she becomes more violent and out of control with her mother. Because of her unusual behavior, her mother tries to stop her from performing and calls in to say she’s sick for opening night.

When Nina wakes up in a frenzy, she races to the show but finds that Thomas has assigned Lily, her understudy, to perform instead. Nina insists on playing the Swan Queen and does so. But during the first act, Nina becomes distracted by a hallucination and is dropped during the lift. Panicking, she heads to her dressing room to change into the Black Swan but instead finds Lily getting ready to play her role. Lily then turns into Nina’s double. Confused and angry, Nina pushes her into a mirror and begins to stab her with a broken piece of glass. The dead body then appears to be Lily. When Nina returns to stage, she is full of passion, and she herself begins to physically transform into a black swan. She receives a standing applause for the act and surprisingly kisses Thomas offstage. While she is preparing for the final act, Lily comes by to congratulate her for the performance making it clear that their struggle was hallucinated. Nina realizes that the mirror is still shattered but the body she stabbed was herself. As she falls backwards off a cliff for the final scene, Nina sees her mother in the audience. Full of satisfaction as she drops onto the hidden mattress with a loud applause, the rest of the cast and Thomas surround her but realize that she is bleeding from her stomach. She whispers her last words, “I felt it. Perfect. It was perfect.”

Movie Plot

Nina Sayers, played by Nathalie Portman, is a shy, young dancer in a prestigious New York City ballet company. It is soon discovered that she still lives with her mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), who also used to be a dancer but gave up her career when she became pregnant at the age of 28. Without her own ballet career, the mother is obviously too involved in her daughter’s life and continuously treats her like a child. The opening show of the season is Swan Lake, and auditions are taking place for the main dancer after the director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), who is a womanizer and a flirt, forces the previous dancer, Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder), into early retirement. She later becomes frantic and aggressive as she has been replaced because of her not-so old age. Although Nina is a perfectionist, she learns that this is actually her weakness for the role. The Swan Queen must be able to represent both the White and Black Swan. While Nina is able to play the innocent and delicate role of the White Swan with grace, she lacks the passion needed for the dark and sensual twin because of her inability to lose control.

Following Leroy to convince him to give her another chance after the bad ending of ther audition, Nina ends up biting him on the lip after he forces a kiss on her. Because of her show of spirit, Nina is given the main role she so badly wanted. Yet, she is unable to shed her frigid movements and feel the motion pass through her. While Leroy becomes more angered, he compares her to a new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), who is not as flawless as Nina but is able to put forth great passion and spontaneity. Soon enough, it becomes psychologically stressful for Nina to play the part as she immerses herself into the Black Swan. She begins to witness strange incidents, which are later discovered to be hallucinations, and behave out of character. Trying to lost control and become wilder than usual, she even takes Leroy’s suggestion to touch herself! Although Nina is not too fond of Lily, they end up going out together. Nina, who is usually obedient, explores her rebellious side while out at a night club. Though she refuses to take a pill that Lily offers her, Lily slips it in her drink anyways. After they leave the club, they return together to Nina’s house, where she is confronted by her angry mother. Locking herself in the room, she becomes even more wild and has sex with Lily. The next morning, she wakes up alone and late for rehearsal only to find Lily playing her role when she arrives in the studio. Confronting her, she discovers that Lily, in fact, had not returned home with her.

Because of her violent and unusual behavior, Nina’s mother tries to stop her from going to the opening night but fails when Nina wakes up angry and heads to the show. Again, she finds that she has been replaced by none other than Lily, who is also her understudy, but only because her mother had called in sick for her. She insists on performing her role and does so. During the first act, however, Nina is dropped during a lift as she becomes distracted by a hallucination she sees on the stage.Panicking, she heads to her dressing room to change into the Black Swan but instead finds Lily getting ready to play her role. Lily then transforms into Nina’s double. Confused and angry, Nina pushes her into a mirror and begins to stab her with a broken piece of glass. The dead body then transforms back into Lily. When Nina returns to the stage, she is full of passion and finally loses control as she herself begins to physically transform into a black swan. She receives a standing ovation for the act and spontaneously kisses Thomas offstage. While she is preparing for the final act, Lily comes by to congratulate her for the performance making it clear that their struggle was only a hallucination. Nina realizes, however, that the mirror is still shattered, but the body she stabbed was her own. As she falls backwards off a cliff for the final scene, Nina notices her mother in the audience. Bleeding on the mattress with the sound of applause around her, Nina is filled with satisfaction for having pulled off the perfect performance she strived for.

Related Items

 

 

Comments are closed.