Despite all the hype surrounding Black Swan we weren’t sure what to expect from it. We knew the story surrounded ballet and we had heard of the excellent acting performances by Natalie Portman (Star Wars episodes 1-3) and Mila Kunis (Family Guy, Book of Eli) so we went in to the review with wide eys and high expectations.

Black Swan follows Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) as a devoted ballerina who is desperate to land the leading role as the Swan Queen in her company’s production of Swan Lake. With fierce competition and an overly pushy and protective mother (also an ex ballerina who fell pregnant with Nina early on in her career), Nina is pushed to the limit mentally and physically while practicing for the role.
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When new girl Lily (Mila Kunis) joins the company with a carefree, fun-loving attitude, Nina becomes intrigued but wary of her. At the same time the shows director, Thomas Leroy (played by Vincent Cassel) is putting pressure on Nina to let herself go in the role of the Black Swan which demands more emotion rather than textbook perfection – something Nina is struggling to do. Leroy puts pressure on Nina to explore herself sexually in order to help her get into the frame of mind for the role – something Nina is clearly uncomfortable doing.

All the while there is an underlying strangeness to the whole film which makes the entire story seem as though its not real. The dialogue etc will be ticking along and the secrets and near-bullying of other girls on Nina is evident but then something will happen to Nina that puts all that on its head and force you to rethink what you originally expected from Black Swan.
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Overall it is quite a dark film – there’s no real show of happiness from Nina’s character given her lifestyle and role model mother. There are scenes of a sexual nature which some may feel are purely gratuitous but in actual fact are tastefully done and make up a large part of the character association that the audience will feel linked to Nina without realising. As a word of warning, you do need to concentrate while watching otherwise you could end up completely lost towards the end as to what is happening. Also Black Swan is the type of film that will have you talking about it after you’ve finished watching as you try to work out the twists and the subplots that have occurred.

After doing the Black Swan review it was clear to see why it was given so much praise – Portman is brilliant and Kunis has shown another side to her skills with her dark and mysterious performance. A great film and well deserved of all accolaides.

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