When guys get together and discuss sports, ballet isn’t one of the main points of discussion. Could you imagine? “Hey,” Bill says, “see that pirouette that one lady pulled off the other day?” “Yea!” George replies. “That was one hell of a spin there.” “It was,” Dan chimes in. “See how the crowd got up for that one?”
But, in his film Black Swan, director Darren Aronofsky makes ballet cool. Too bad it takes a psychotic breakdown and a hot lesbian scene.
Natalie Portman is Nina Sayers, a life long ballerina who yearns for the lead role in the upcoming production. To get the part, she must conquer both characters she is required to play: The White Swan and The Black Swan. The White Swan is no trouble for Sayers; it takes grace and beauty, which she has plenty of. The Black Swan, however, challenges Sayers to the utmost, causing her to dig deep into her psyche, where she finds the blackest of ideas and visions.
If the challenge of becoming The Black Swan isn’t enough, Sayers must also deal with an overbearing mother, a perverted dance director, and a hot new rival, Lily (Mila Kunis), who threatens Sayers’s leading role. All of these things combined with the physical and mental daily aches and pains of ballet cause an unforgettable collapse for Sayers.
Aronofsky guides us through the collapse as seen through Sayers’s eyes. The visions she undergoes are disturbing in their subtly, as if they have a place in normal life. Extreme hang nails. Murders. These things cause the viewer to question what is real, and, by doing so, connect with Portman’s character.
Then, of course, there is the lesbian sex scene. I think I speak for every guy who has seen the movie when I say that it is pretty appealing. Two beautiful women going at each other – nothing wrong with that. However, the scene does more than get the male’s attention. It adds to the overall mental breakdown of Sayers. Again, the viewer must question what is real and what is not.
The movie does tend to drag a few times, but I think that was more of my extreme disinterest in dance than any fault of the director’s creative abilities. There are only so many times a man can watch a woman twirl around in a skirt without getting bored, no matter how beautiful the woman is.
Perhaps ballet is not discussed in the male realm, but I bet this movie is. I can imagine it now. “Hey,” Bill says, “see that lesbian scene in that movie?” “Yea!” George replies. “See the way that one chick’s back arched up when she was going down on the other lady?” “I did,” Dan chimes in. “Should’ve seen how I got up for that one!” Awkward silence.