Ballerina Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) has worked hard over the years to be the very best that she can be. She wins the lead role in the classic ballet ‘Swan Lake’, but there is a lot of pressure on her from both herself and other people. We watch as she mentally breaks down and ceases to be the perfect by-the-book ballerina, and slowly become terrifyingly perfect for the role she was born to play.
To begin with Nina is perfect as the White Swan. She’s beautiful and the perfect dancer. However she fails to be able to let herself go and be able to portray the Black Swan as well. Enter sassy ballet rival Lily (Mila Kunis). Lily perfectly embodies the Black Swan. She’s sexy, seductive and more importantly, she is able to let herself go when she dances.
Terrified that Lily is out to steal the lead role from her, Nina is hostile towards her. Paranoia very quickly sets in and Nina starts to slowly but surely become more reckless in order to keep her role. From this rivalry a strange, twisted friendship emerges. The line between what is and isn’t real becomes very blurred as the film descends into a psychological thriller, and we journey in and out of the insanely competitive world of ballet.
The film perfectly depicts Nina’s transformation from the stunning yet overly perfect white swan, to the darkly intense black swan climaxing in the perfectly inevitable ending.
Natalie Portman is the perfect woman for the role, having had close to a year’s worth of ballet lessons before filming even started. The lessons definitely paid off as her dancing is perfect. She acts with an intense grace, which Mila Kunis plays off against brilliantly. The two characters have a strange relationship; they are complete opposites yet they are the same. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are able to handle this and they both give career defining performances.
Black Swan is almost certainly going to do well at the awards this year, having been nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing at the Oscars 2011.
Overall I would highly recommend this film. I like my comedies and action, so I was unsure if this would be my type of film, but thankfully my worries were proven to be unfounded and I was very quickly drawn into the intense story. This really is one of the best films I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s exciting, provoking, emotional, sexy, scary and definitely worthy of all the hype.