A bit too much ballet, but otherwise an intriguing psychological story.
Limited release 12/3/10
Viewed 12/20/10 at the AMC Theater at Pacific Place, downtown Seattle
RT: 88 Flixter: 91 cag: 85
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis
Natalie Portman is an obsessed ballerina in NYC, having just been chosen for the part of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake. Her entire life has been ballet. She has no friends. She lives with her mother, who is a piece of work herself. She has kept her her daughter completely under her wing, making sure she gets the dance opportunities she herself lost when she got pregnant. Nina's bedroom is still pink and babyish and full of stuffed animals. Her mother falls asleep watching her.
Slowly we realize that Nina's at war within herself. She sees a twin of herself in strange places- a disappearing flash that we soon realize is in her head. We discover that she scratches herself and picks at the skin around her cuticles bloody when she's stressed. She wants to be the perfect dancer. That's all she lives for, all she thinks about and dreams about.
Enter another ballerina, played by Mila Kunis, who is after Nina's role. She starts playing with Nina's head, encouraging her to try things she has never tried before. She begins messing with Nina's already messed-up,uptight, frigid world. And then it really starts getting interesting. The first half was slow. The second half was really good. She can dance the part of the white swan beautifully, but will she ever be able to dance the part of the black swan?
Natalie Portman was really, really good. She did all the dancing. She's a terrific actress, she portrayed this obsessed, lost girl beautifully. And what an ending!