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20 December 2010

Saw Black Swan, Loved it. (spoilers) Let's talk

I kept thinking it was like an Arthouse Carrie, I gotta a lot o 70s melodrama/horror flashbacks.

Lots of Perfect Blue connections, but I'd comfortably call this a Horror movie.

You don't see a lot of female body horror in these kinds of movies do you? Like pretty much 25% of this movie is about anorexia, right? that one line "oo Pretty Pink!" like just summed up 25 years of eating disorders and guilt.

Nina is so fucked up in the head. Notice how there isn't a single scene not from Nina's point of view. She's almost in every frame. Notice the complete lack of open space? There's only one extended outdoor scene, and it's under an overpass at night.

Actually if you think of the entire movie from a 3rd person view, it's more interesting. Like Lilly's "I was trying to be nice and loosen her up and maybe I was a little underhanded but she's so weird and awkward and lives with her Mom and has no friends."

posted by The Whelk 20 December | 23:38
I adore Aronofsky, but I was so traumatized by Requiem for a Dream that I think three times before going to any movie of his again. That said, I thought Black Swan hit the perfect balance of psychological and visceral horror. I was debating with myself whether she actually died in the end or if this was another one of her imaginings (as it could be a metaphorical "death of the ego" type thing where she is finally completely freed from the trappings of her own anxiety). But my boyfriend was all like, "No, she had to die for real, that's the smirkingly cruel Aronofsky shock twist at work." Blah, I say.
posted by mykescipark 20 December | 23:51
Oh no i think it totally works, cause by the end of the film you totally buy that Nina is someone who would kill herself ON STAGE in order to be "perfect". The entire movie is explaining to you why and how she's crazy enough to do that.
posted by The Whelk 21 December | 00:16
I don't think it came across that she killed herself onstage, per se - where would she have impaled herself? I understood it as more of a supernatural, stigmata-style wounding, which leaves the reality of it open to interpretation, but I have unfortunately decided that, yeah, she probably died under typically weird Aronofskian dream-logic rules.
posted by mykescipark 21 December | 00:57
I really want to see this flick but I haven't yet.
posted by BoringPostcards 21 December | 01:11
(I added a spoiler notice in the title)
posted by gaspode 21 December | 10:05
(...but it already said SO MANY SPOILERS above the cut...)
posted by mykescipark 21 December | 10:41
people on RSS readers? Better safe then sorry.

ON TRACK AGAIN: the New Yorker called the casting of the fading prima ballerina "cruel". Which i thought was totally off mark, it was perfect.

Considering the script started as an All About Eve-ish backstage drama, I thought kinda sits in the triangulation of The Red Shoes, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane and Susprisa.
posted by The Whelk 21 December | 10:44
Then again I stopped reading the New Yorker largely cause I couldn't understand how both their theater, film, and TV critics seemed to actively miss. the. point. of everything they watched. Calling The Importance Of being Earnest "Anti-Woman" is as close to meaningless word salad as you can get.
posted by The Whelk 21 December | 10:47
(yeah, but you need to use the word "spoiler" in the actual title for it to be blacked out on the recent comments page. A lot of people - me included - start there without looking at the front page)
posted by gaspode 21 December | 10:55
Should I be embarrassed to admit that I didn't recognize Winona Ryder? Or did she look really different to you too?
posted by amro 21 December | 11:42
I didn't either, but her voice is very distinctive.
posted by The Whelk 21 December | 11:52
Re: Winona, I definitely had a "Hey, is that...?" reaction for much of the film.

(Spoilerwise, her "death" in the film was the most horrifying part for me.)
posted by mykescipark 21 December | 15:11
I was audibly whimpering through most of the movie, but especially during any scene where Nina was picking at her skin, or Beth's death, or just...

See, I have a scratching problem like Nina's. I have scars all over my body from peeled scabs, like Nina. I know what a relief it is and how good it feels to peel a scab and see the blood welling up. So when Nina's mom got all concerned about it, my own skin crawled.

And then I started thinking that there's probably some correlation between Nina's wanting to be technically perfect and physically perfect, but also for her to have deliberately marred her skin in the past.

But perhaps my favorite part? Was how freaking accurately it portrayed the apartment of a ballerina and her painter-mother on the Upper West Side. Two bedrooms, one bathroom, and one small kitchenette? I totally believed that.

Also? Um, call me a throwback, but I would have slept with Vincent Cassel for the role, like Lily did (or Nina imagines she did). That man was just creatively hot.
posted by TrishaLynn 21 December | 15:47
As a horror film, the shocks where metered out pretty carefully, so by an hour in if anyone casually reached for a nail file you hear the entire audience squirm.

Oh yes, dead-on with the apartment. There are so many older Performer types in the lower 100s, the very edge of what was once a very louche' and shabby-genteel area (in A Chorus Line, the audience is suppose to gasp when a kid mentions he's been going up to 72nd St ...these days that would mean he was looking for fancy chocolate stores or a good nanny service.) and they all have that exact same apartment.
posted by The Whelk 21 December | 16:02
I totally enjoyed it, but thought "The Wrestler" was a better. I'm glad I saw it in the theatre, because the horror stuff would be "oh please" on a small screen. I thought Portman was credible, but a little old, she was what, 29 when shot? It's tough to cast, though, need dancers. Didn't care for Wynonna casting, but luuurrved Mila J and Babs Hershey.

So yeah, I'll say it, Mikey Rourke is a better actor today than Natalie Portman today. Still, I really liked it, and I am very critical. I didn't like "Inception" - which I just saw on PPV. Inception didn't make me care about any of the characters, and I felt bad / was rooting for Nina Princess, really. So effed up, Mama.
posted by rainbaby 31 December | 15:32
I never saw The Wrestler, but my dancer friend who was *so into* the Wrestler when it came out pretty much dragged me to see Black Swan and then thought they both make more sense as bookends to the same theme - obsession, physical limits, crushing external forces and a complete disdain for reality.

There was *a lot* of making fun of her dancing. And then a giscussion on how ballet has become completely surreal in the last century, the standards kept getting higher and stricter and more refined until you're basically asking people to deform themselves in order to compete. No one in 1900 would want a "banana foot" for one thing.
posted by The Whelk 01 January | 00:44
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