I had the craziest dream last night. I was dancing the White Swan.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 9.24.33 AMFirst off, I have to say that there is no arguing that Natalie Portman is a beautiful woman. But being beautiful has no bearing on one’s acting ability. Just ask Angelina Jolie, Hayden Christianson, or Keannu Reeves.

 Darren Aronofsky must have a special talent either to pull great acting from a mediocre actress or to disguise mediocre acting with exceptional storytelling and camera work.

Nina, what did you do?

I felt it. Perfect. I was perfect.

The Black Swan is not the greatest film ever made.

But it is haunting and beautifully told. (Perfect?)

And it makes even Natalie Portman into a great actress, capturing the freedom of her role as the black swan only in the last minutes of the film as it builds to its on-stage crescendo. 

This is your moment, Nina. Don’t let it go.

(don’t speak)

Like Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, The Black Swan’s greatest moments happen between the lines. Literally, where the story is told by the camera, through the eyes of the characters themselves.

Nina lives under the thumb of her controlling mother, once a ballerina herself, who pushes her to her limits with intense passive pressure. Like a woman suffering from Munchausen–by-proxy, Nina’s mother keeps her on an emotional rollercoaster alternating between praise, shame, and guilt – infiltrating every aspect of her daughter’s life.Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 9.16.02 AM

 You’ve been scratching yourself again.

If Nina were subject to her mother alone, she would have remained a basket case, but one that lived a comfortable distance away from the edge. However, her mother was not the only influence in her life.

Another dancer joins the troop. Lily, played by Mila Kunis (Who I believe can act, so long as she is not put opposite James Franco). She plays the Black Swan, the alter ego of Nina, a character that is partly real and partly within Nina’s own mind.

You put something in my drink.

Just the straw needed to break the camel’s back driving Nina to the edge, losing herself to her performance and achieving her dream. The dual influences of Lily and the ballet’s director, Thomas combine to provide the force needed to push Nina beyond her boundaries and into frightening territory – exactly what is required to transcend technique.blackwan81

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