Black Swan (2010)

I got to check out Black Swan last weekend when it opened, and wanted to write something about it for a while but because of finals, I couldn't get to it until now. One of my friends shared this Charlie Rose interview with me earlier today, and it really sparked the same thoughts (and some new ones) I had last week once again.

One of the strongest feelings I walked away with was how much the movie felt like Darren Aronofsky's other works, and most closely the The Wrestler (2008). Aronofsky explained the resemblances in the Charlie Rose interview (as explorations of high art and low art, of the use of bodies in entertainment), but to me the most profound similarity was what I felt Aronofsky was saying to the audience at the end of each movie. Both The Wrestler and Black Swan end with applause in the background, but with a strong sense of want or disappointment lingering for the viewer (I'll hold off on saying more on that so as not to spoil the ending for those who have yet to see it).  I took this to be Aronofsky's way of saying "Are you happy? Do you see what these entertainers have gone through to try and appease your insatiable appetite? Is this what you want?"

In the Charlie Rose interview, Natalie Portman also brought up some really interesting points about the movie that bear heavily on my own current state in personal development. Portman described her transformation in the movie from a "ballet girl" to a "woman," as one which mirrors her real-life transformation into womanhood. One of the ways the movie portrays this is by Nina (Portman's character) moving away from trying to please everyone else and finding her own pleasure. This was a fascinating commentary on adulthood to me. I think too often personal focus is seen as childish, selfish or unbecoming of a well-functioning adult. In fact, I think the idea of finding your own pleasure is a great way to conceptualize ownership of yourself and your own happiness in adulthood, something I am working on for myself recently.

Black Swan is a fantastic artifact of film-making. It is meta-cognitive, highly subjective, beautifully scored and a much needed film in what seems like a drought in high quality films recently.