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Black Swan

Finally. This is one of the movies I've been most excited for this year. It's been making the rounds on the festival circuit and getting rave reviews. Then it opens last week here in Boston, but I end up spending that time back in Texas where my uncultured hometown doesnt show anything without explosions or fart jokes (not a judgement on those films because we all know I love them). I just flew back in this afternoon, and while I really shoulda unpacked, or slept, or figured out my new Droid phone, I ran to Coolidge Corner instead. So why the excitement? Effed up film about ballerinas. You have no idea how much that sums me up.

We've long since established that I like my films on the dark side, and not just in a Sith Lord/Darth Vader sense. Requiem for a Dream is way up there on my list of faves of that style (I actually got the roomie watching it in the next room right now). Other examples would be American Psycho, The Machinist, and Donnie Darko, which I always forget is kinda messed up since I have such warm fuzzies for it...maybe I need a therapist. Moving on. So what about the ballerina thing? I dont know how much I've gone into it here on Expletive Dleted, but I am a dancer. I started taking ballet when I was 3 and kept up with it for 10 years. I picked up a whole bunch of other styles along the way, have choreographed a few shows, and try to do at least a lil dancing every day when possible. Oh and I obsess over DWTS. Therefore, Aronsky + ballet = Dawn win!

And OMFG it was so worth the wait. It did suffer from a little bit of overanticipation on my part, although that also built the intensity to some degree. I was expecting a lot of suspense, and from one perspective it would appear it was slow to build it, but from another you could argue that's what was creating it. The other issue (again, totally my fault) was from my constant need to solve the puzzle. I was so determined to figure it out (is it in her head? plot from the rival dancer? plot from the teacher?) that I didnt let myself just go with it as much as I should have. Those points aside, \m/ brilliant!

What I actually loved most about it was some of the attention to detail of the dancer lifestyle. Things like taping toes and burning ribbons just brought back a flood of memories for me. I really could believe that Natalie Portman was a dancer, not just an actress thrust into a role. Given all the Oscar buzz around her performance, I was a bit hypercritical of her. But the last 20 minutes have me sold on her, and I'd also love to see a statue go to this type of role instead of your typical Oscar bait bio-pic or redemption story. She fully embodied the "white swan" character, but her transformation into the "black swan" was seamless and full of intensity. Not to mention all the discipline it must've taken her for the physical side of the role.

On the acting front, I should take this opportunity to admit to Mila Kunis being my #2 girl crush (behind Anne Hathaway who we discussed previously). Love love loved her as the bad girl, and her role in the film definitely had a bad impact on that girl crush (by which I mean the good kinda bad). Its great to see what big steps she's taken away from Jackie Burkhart (her 70's Show character) and really grown as an actress. Wow that sounded cheesey.

For the final few thoughts, I just wanna say that Darren Aronofsky has such an impressive handle on this type of film. And while 2 years ago it may have seemed strange that the same guy who did Requiem was responsible for The Wrestler, Black Swan turned out to be such a perfect blend of those two. Ida never thought that possible. This was definitely closer on the Requiem end of the spectrum as far as the feel, but had the character work of Wrestler. Whatever magic he worked, it definitely turned out to be a win

Black Swan - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
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