Haiku and Review: Black Swan

Breaking, broken, soul en pointe
Oh, to be Swan Queen.

I can’t imagine this movie being everyone’s cup of tea.  In fact, I can see many people averting their eyes from the screen.  There are moments here, as there were moments in Darren Aronofsky’s previous films like Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler, where human flesh is mutilated to cringing levels — skin ripping like Scotch tape, a cheek turned into a canvas for a bout of self-stabbing.  At times, Black Swan is a full-blown horror movie, but the horror is somehow worse because the monster is within the mind of poor Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman).

It really is a horror movie, with most of its trappings — character backs away and into the arms of something/someone unpleasant, a chase in pitch-black darkness, discordant injections of noise to pump up the fear.  And yet Black Swan is more than that.  It’s a pointed, grueling character study, and boy, does Portman ever come up big in the acting department.  There’s not a single second when she isn’t Nina, and from the get-go, you can feel her confusion, her pain, her relentless drive to become someone she knows she’s incapable of being (and yet has to, somehow).   There are many shots of her smiling through misery, and each one is more heartbreaking than the one before.

It’s a movie about the pursuit of perfection, of sacrificing your very soul to achieve your dream.  But like I said, it’s also really, really scary.

I’m glad I saw Black Swan, but I’m also glad I won’t ever see it again.