Title: Black Swan Director: Darren Aronofsky Year: 2010 Run time: 1hr 48m
“Black Swan follows the story of Nina, a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. When artistic director Thomas Leroy decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily, who impresses Leroy as well. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side with a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.”
2:23 - If all ballet was shot like this, it’d have a few more fans I think. 5:10 - Stage mother! 8:07 - The shoe thing is weird. Why bother making ready made ones if you’re just going to butcher them? 11:38 - I wonder if it’s worth becoming a dancer just to be able to wear amazing sweats and legwarmers? 21:23 - “Perfection is not just about control. It’s also about letting go.” 26:22 - No! No cake was harmed during the making of this film! 32:06 - I’m assuming Mila is not supposed to be nice but I still love her. 37:29 - French man with a fab flat and a piano. I’m in. 45:53 - Why doesn’t she just move out? 50:53 - “It’s not like he’s all warm and fuzzy.” 55:05 - “You could be brilliant but you’re a coward.” 1:03:09 - Not boring, just not for everyone. 1:03:59 - Spoiler alert. 1:14:36 - Ballet rage. 1:20:49 - She’s losing her mind… 1:25:22 - Eek, shutting people’s hands in doors shouldn’t be allowed. 1:32:02 - Loving the giant moon in the background. 1:34:38 - That’s the very definition of showbiz in five.
We had very different expectations going into this - Mr C assumed it was just a tame ballet tale, and I was under the impression it was a pretty twisted horror story. The truth is it was somewhere in between. It took an absolute age to get going, with that slow burn build that eventually pays off but takes some serious patience to get there. I did vaguely consider switching it off part way through, but we stuck with it.
What’s weird is at the end, we were both on the same page - at some point along the way, the film got good, but neither of us could pinpoint where, when, or why. The final twist was fab, and the intense acting from Portman was incredible. It’s an odd one, but worth watching, I think, if you can get through it.