It’s old. But the story is timeless.
Well, only if you consider 3 years to be old. To me, not really: a 90’s episode of Full House would be. This is still worthwhile. I’m bringing back something that is enjoyable to watch and is considered one of the best in its class. Here’s another movie review until I work up some energy to do one about life. In a way, this is a post about life because it takes our inner struggles and fights to the extreme.
Sometimes, taking things to the extreme is the only way to understand them.
1. “Swan Lake”
Have you ever heard of the classic ballet “Swan Lake”? If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it because it’ll at least be something diverse from the annual “Nutcracker” that your mom drags you to while your dad is falling asleep in the first act. If you haven’t heard of it, here’s the gist: a girl is turned into a swan by the evil Rothbart wizard and she has to find love to break the curse. But the evil Rothbart makes another girl, Odile, pretend to be her and try to steal the swan’s love, the prince. Very dramatic and lovely.
Darren Aronofsky did something different that turned “Swan Lake” into a suspenseful thriller that will make the children at the ballet cry at the top of their lungs. Thriller, not horror. In this film, there are two swans: the white swan (the good swan) and the black swan (the bad swan). They are supposedly twins and the black swan tries to sabotage the good swan by pretending to be her and getting the prince (her lover) to fall in love with the wrong swan. In the end, the good swan is supposed to kill herself because she can’t choose the right person to love, Rothbart or the Prince. If you’re lost, so am I, because I have no idea why in the world the good swan would want to be with the man who cursed her.
2. The Movie Rendition
Aronofsky’s version of Swan Lake doesn’t really matter though, to be honest. He focuses the story on a young dancer, named Nina, who has landed the role of the swan. She has to portray both the good and bad swan, ultimately having to play two roles that are polar opposites. The director, Thomas, that she has fully embodied the good swan perfectly, since she is delicate and graceful, but has not captured the passion of the black swan. So Nina pushes herself to satisfy the director and to avoid being replaced by an understudy, which causes her to turn bad, like the black swan.
Note: if you’re taking AP Psychology next year or are planning to major in it anytime soon, you should seriously take this movie into consideration. It is artsy and enthrilling, but it also captures a lot of the diseases that the curriculum talks about: depression, hallucinations, LSD, peer pressure, etc.
What I think is the most interesting part besides the education is that Aronofsky was able to parallel Nina’s life with the good swan’s role, in which the audience was able to watch both characters develop without full-on predictive paths. I have very few bad things to say about this film because it was so enrapturing and raw. I’m not much for the thrillers or the horror movies, much less watching them alone, but I was able to sit at my computer and watch it from start to finish without getting nightmares.
I’m going to end it here instead of going too in-depth because I could reveal a spoiler.
3. Perception vs. Reality
Ultimately, the goal of the production was to compare real life dancers to Nina. I did some research and I found out that going “on point” when they dance is very difficult. Dancers have to train and shape their bodies in a way that they can stay bone-dry skinny and still be able to move with healthy, light, fluid motions. A lot of dancers, like Nina, are bulimic or anorexic because it is such a competitive nature: there is only one main part in every production, and everybody wants it. So they’ll do anything to get it, whether it means to binge and purge or to push themselves to the point where they’re own toenails fall off. Gross, huh?
But does it really matter? That’s what I’m saying. This movie literally exposes what competitive nature is doing to people, taking the dance world as just an example. Yes, ballerinas have to work so hard and are the most stressed and depressed; Aronofsky took these girls as an example of an extreme to help you, the audience, understand. We’re constantly haunted by someone wearing the same outfit as us or having the same haircut as us when that person actually didn’t even attempt to look like you. As a matter of fact, they don’t even think about you that much, yet you put yourself in that position.
It’s not really anyone’s fault that we do this to ourselves. Human nature naturally makes us think that a lot of things are about ourselves: it’s called selfishness. Having some of that selfishness will keep us alive, but too much can kill us. We constantly fight with ourselves and push ourselves, whether or not it is academic or just in social life. It’s there, and the Black Swan is the epitome of that dark swirling storm that we constantly think is sabotaging us and we mentally have to fight everyday. And we fight back because we all want to be that good swan, that perfect swan who doesn’t even exist.