TMG Scale 7.0
Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey
Provocative would be the most civil term for this ballet of madness. Wow, weird and uneasy were other words smacking at my brain and senses. TMG saw this movie with Joy Lynn and three dozen women. Why? Because most men were sane enough to take a pass and watch a college bowl game instead. What this movie really means or why it was ever made, took me some serious time on a therapists couch but I finally got a handle on it. It sure was a wild ride…for both me and my therapist.
If you think the world of theatre and ballet is all just a gay old time of artsy folks, this film will set you straight. Let me rephrase that, it will open your eyes to the reality. The fact is, the professional world of ballet is just as cut throat and rough and tumble as the NFL or All Star Wrestling. (Although, I am not sure All Star Wrestling has a casting couch and the thought is a little too gross to even pursue.) This film exposes the underworld of ballet and takes a stab at dance moms…literally. By implication it also says something about hockey moms, Olympic ice skaters, soccer fanatics, wannabee singers and dozens of other pursuits where parents and children make a deal with the devil to be the next superstar. You might just achieve perfection at your art, sport or craft, but at what cost? And who really cares?
This film takes fanaticism and narcissism of the world of ballet to the next level in the supernatural. It is not a bright or well recognized line of distinction. After a week of nightmares, I began to understand this film a bit. I refuse to totally grasp the purpose of this film because it may be just too dark and dangerous. But, I like it when a major film stretches your comfort boundaries and plays with your basic assumptions of what is real and what may be, too real. Tossing in some real hot lesbian sex into this mixture plays even further with your senses. I know I just got a few guys’ (and gals for sure) attention there, but don’t see this film just for the sex. There is too much else going on in this film to literally freak you out. You won’t feel anymore comfortable with Natalie Portman spreading her wings as the Black Swan than with her spreading eagle (so to speak) for her ballet rival.
As a former ballet student myself, watching this movie made me feel a bit like I would imagine a dog would feel watching some of Michael Vic’s old home movies. My breed enters the arena in top form but I kind of know what’s up next. And distracting me with hot sex doesn’t help.
Joy Lynn says: Black Swan is a dark drama filled with stark contrasts. The beauty and artistry of the way it was shot is enough to make this movie worth seeing. The creative use of mirrors and the physical manifestation of the swan add to the film’s disturbing imagery. This movie is not for everyone, it will push some viewers way beyond their comfort zone just as Requiem for a Dream (2000) did a decade ago.