Swan Song

I always enjoy Darren Aronofsky movies... When I'm in the mood for them. There's no coming home after a busy Thursday and thinking "Damn, I'm beat. I'm gonna kick back and unwind with The Fountain tonight!" But when seen in the right frame of mind, his films can utterly stun me.

Unfortunately, after missing Black Swan during its theatrical run, then sitting on the Netflix disc for three weeks, I finally decided that I had to stop wasting time and just watch the damn thing, even if I wasn't in an Aronofsky mood. The results were predictable: I could easily see why it was so acclaimed. I could easily see why the Academy gave Natalie Portman an Oscar. I could easily see why this took its place among the top of so many critics' lists. But I didn't really enjoy it.

I'm more than willing to lay the blame for that at my own feet rather than at the movie's. The stark portrayal of a ballet dancer unraveling as she strives for perfection was completely unnerving, and we're never quite sure whether we're seeing an event actually transpire or just a figment of the dancer's fraying psyche until it's pointed out to us. I felt the movie over-relied on shots of physical brutality in order to shock, but it would naturally be tempting to contrast the "perfect" body of a ballet dancer with the grisly aftermath of a broken toenail.

Someday, I'll probably rewatch this movie and be able to fully appreciate it. For now, I'm just satisfied that I've seen it for the sake of completion. It just wasn't an Aronofsky kind of night.

Black Swan: B-


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