Black Swan

Black SwanBBBBB

(out of 5)

The physical manifestations of stress as imposed upon a person trying to reach the top of her game are examined, exploited and gloriously splayed across the screen in this masterpiece by Darren Aronofsky.  sheds twenty pounds from her already slim frame to play a New York City ballerina whose desire to achieve razor-sharp perfection places mental and physical duress upon her body (and the weight loss on the actress, while disturbing, makes it so much more believable). She is chosen to play the lead in her company’s production of Swan Lake after her determination captures the eye of her director ( in an irresistibly diabolical performance) while her impossible goals inspire his most manipulative traits. At home, her overbearing mother (a terrifying ) keeps a close eye on this young woman, simultaneously encouraging her career while fearing its negative effects. At rehearsal, the new girl in the company () tries to become Portman’s friend but is kept at bay as our heroine becomes subconsciously enraged by Kunis’ passionate style of dancing that does not seek perfection in movement but comes across with so much more honesty and vitality. These characters and more are all held up as mirrors to Portman’s increasingly fragile starlet as this beautifully shot, perfectly directed and edited psychological drama goes from high intensity to unbearable angst: Aronofsky begins by jangling the nerves and never releases the tension throughout the entire film, but includes enough passion, humour and squeamish terror to keep you from being exhausted by the experience. Many of its psychological methods are simplistic, and it seems to set itself up for secrets that are far too easily predicted, but it never matters; the director paints every movement with such bold, colourful strokes, the film’s dicier moments really tapping into viewers’ primal fears, that the manipulations all work to great satisfaction. The dancing is fantastic, with Portman seamlessly convincing you that she’s a pro, and contributes a cameo that gives the film its spine, as the prima ballerina who ends up in the scary and hilarious position that awaits all who seek the glory of this beautifully unreal artform.

USA, 2010

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Story by , Screenplay by , Andres Heinz,

Cinematography by

Produced by , , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  TIFF 2010, Venice 2010

Cast Tags:  ,,,, , , , ,, , ,, ,, , ,, , , , ,, , , , ,, , ,, , ,, , , ,, , , , , , ,, ,, , , , , , ,

Academy Award
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Natalie Portman as “Nina Sayers/The Swan Queen”)

Best Cinematography (Matthew Libatique)
Best Directing (Darren Aronofsky)
Best Film Editing (Andrew Weisblum)
Best Picture (Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver, Scott Franklin, producers)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Natalie Portman)

Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Mila Kunis)
Best Director (Darren Aronofsky)

New York Film Critics Award
Best Cinematographer (Matthew Libatique)

Los Angeles Film Critics Award
Best Cinematography (Matthew Libatique)

National Society of Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Cinematography (Matthew Libatique)

Screen Actors Guild Award
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role (Natalie Portman)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Mila Kunis)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Original Screenplay

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Darren Aronofsky)

Independent Spirit Awards
Best Feature
Best Director (Darren Aronofsky)
Best Cinematography
Best Female Lead (Natalie Portman)

British Academy Award
Best Leading Actress (Natalie Portman)

Best Film
Best Supporting Actress (Barbara Hershey)
Best Screenplay (Original)
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Sound
Best Editing
Best Special Visual Effects
Best Make Up & Hair
Best Production Design
David Lean Award for Direction (Darren Aronofsky)

Cesar Award Nomination
Best Foreign Film

Toronto Film Critics Award Nominations
Best Picture
Best Actress (Natalie Portman)
Best Director (Darren Aronofsky)

Boston Film Critics Awards
Best Actress (Natalie Portman)
Best Film Editing

Best Director (Darren Aronofsky)
Best Cinematography

Chicago Film Critics Awards
Best Actress (Natalie Portman)
Best Original Score

Best Picture
Best Director (Darren Aronofsky)
Best Screenplay, Original
Best Cinematography



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