Sound Off: Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan - What Did You Think?
by Alex Billington
December 3, 2010
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Highly acclaimed and beloved Brooklyn-born filmmaker Darren Aronofsky is releasing his fifth feature film this weekend, titled Black Swan, starring the always wondefful Natalie Portman as well as Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder. It is opening in limited release, but you can find the complete city listings here with expansion details. How is Darren's new film? Does it live up to your expectations? Is it his best film to date? How was Natalie Portman - Oscar worthy? If you've seen it, leave a comment below and let us know what you thought of Black Swan!
To fuel the fire, as you probably already know, I totally love this film (read my review from Telluride). It is easily one of my favorite films of the entire year, perhaps even my #1, but I haven't seen everything this year yet. That said, Darren Aronofsky has delivered an absolutely mesmerizing, seductive, twisted, dark, brilliant ballet thriller that not only has a great story at its center, but is also crafted like a beautiful ballet itself. I've seen it a few times already and it only gets better on repeat viewings. I'm hesitant to call it his masterpiece because I also love and appreciate The Fountain just as much, but Black Swan is still one of my favorites of 2010. And for those that want to get into the details, how much of it do you think was just her imagination?
What did you think of Aronofsky's Black Swan? Movie of the year or just a mediocre thriller?
Reader Feedback - 34 Comments
kinda hard to see it when its a limited release!
Xerxex on Dec 3, 2010
saw it a month ago at the starz denver film festival and was blown away, really intense ending and great performances by vincent cassel and portman. it really walks a fine line with paying homage to red shoes but at the same time crafting a new type of documentary horror film from a ballerina's perspective. i almost have to see it again just to analyze which scenes really happened and what were created to sell the story
bubbatwo420 on Dec 3, 2010
I am still waiting to see this film but can't wait until I am able. For whatever reason, every single theater in Phoenix seems to have decided not to show the film at all. I called around to a dozen theaters and the only theater that is even showing it this year is a tiny little place that get foreign and indie films. I am planning on going and seeing it next Friday when they show it. It is killing me that I have to wait another whole week.
NamelessTed on Dec 3, 2010
Aronovsky's films always feature such great yet broken characters, and Black Swan is no exception. Every character has flaws. Some greater than others, but flaws nonetheless. Someone mentioned to me that they view his work as dehumanizing, but I see it rather differently. He has this uncanny ability to show people in their most fragile moments and I don't think there is anything more human than that. The characters being portrayed are not extraordinary people. They are human and inherently imperfect as a result. I think one of Aronovsky's greatest strengths, and it certainly shows in Black Swan, is his ability to recognize how futile our strive for perfection is and that fact that we are not perfect is what unites as human beings. Another awe inspiring piece of work from Mr. Aronovsky further proves that he is arguably one of the best filmmakers currently working and I think we can only expect to see more great things from him in the future.
Eric on Dec 3, 2010
did...did you really just say Xerxes, Billington? Come on man! I live outside of Music City, and I'm sure the movie will never make it here! Damn you FS.net for getting my hopes up only to smash them against the rocks!
Xerxex on Dec 3, 2010
ah you repaired it...well that was very nice, thank you Alex.
Xerxex on Dec 3, 2010
Check here next week when it releases in my town! 🙁
dee on Dec 3, 2010
Wait... better than INCEPTION even???
Aaron on Dec 4, 2010
I just got back from watching this downtown Chicago (3 locations there and one in Po-dunk nowhere IL), and I have to say this movie is not to be missed at all. It gave me this Fight Club feel, but much much more sinister. Honestly, some of the parts just felt like pure evil and that is great film making. It had a low intensity through out the whole movie that almost emotionally exhausts you by the end. I am glad there is no cliched twist or any other fashionable garbage out there. This was originality at some of it's finest. Portman's transformation should be for Academy consideration.
L on Dec 4, 2010
I thought it was brilliant! great filmmaking, such an intense and beautiful movie. Natalie Portman is the best thing about it and she carries the movie with a really deep performance. Aronofsky's and Portman's masterpiece.
Joey on Dec 4, 2010
ZOMG!!! He said Xerxes!! Kill him!!!
Geoff on Dec 5, 2010
This film looks amazing I am really looking forward to it. That said, The Fountain SUCKED.
Hmm on Dec 5, 2010
I saw it this weekend. Beautiful. Natalie Portman's performance was convincing and memorizing. I was particularly impressed with the subtle use of CG. So often, directors get carried away using CG. This film used all the tools at it's disposal for specific dramatic beats. I felt the supporting cast fit in Nina's world, elevating her fears and hopes to expose a world that she was not familiar. My friends and I had many discussions over what elements we considered "real" or in the protagonist's head; second only to Inception earlier this year. I'd be curious to know how people categorize this. Friends claim this film for all sorts of genres; Drama, Horror, Thriller, Art, etc. It's been an ongoing debate in my circle. . .
Alex O on Dec 6, 2010
Only reason why I disliked inception in comparison to how much I should have liked it was due to the fact that Leonardo DeCaprio had played a veryyyyyyyyyyyyy similar role/started in a very similar movie in "Shutter Island" I honestly thought it was Shutter Island 2: the Inception
Wokkiee on Dec 6, 2010
I forgot to mention that Darren Aronofsky is my all time favorite director because of "The Fountain"...especially because of the Fountains OST. And the Black Swan was equally amazing; Mila Kunis + Natalie Portman + Darren Aronofsky = !!!!!
Wokkiee on Dec 6, 2010
!5AAK on Dec 6, 2010
I had such high expectations for Black Swan that I was underwhelmed when I finally saw it. It was enjoyable but it's not anywhere near "perfect."
tobias on Dec 6, 2010
Disappointing. I had such high expectations for Black Swan that I was underwhelmed after I finally saw it. It was enjoyable but it's not anywhere near good as The Wrestler.
tobias on Dec 6, 2010
Geoff I've been using for a while now, and I hate, Hate it when someone puts an S! Why would I wanna go by Xerxes? lol.
Xerxex on Dec 6, 2010
This movie is like about one person and that's Natalie Portman's character. All the other characters are there to support her. I really thought Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel (both whom I love!!) would be better presented! If you love Natalie Portman, you'll like this movie. If you don't, then you're going to with she'd hurry up and die already.
kendra on Dec 6, 2010
Xerxes is starting to sound like a diva.
JL on Dec 6, 2010
Amazing and truly haunting!!!! One of the best film and music combos ever. The music is still playing in my head 24 hours after exiting the theatre. Natalie Portman: Bravo!! Clint Mansel and Tchaikovsky: Bravo!! Aronofsky: BRAVO!!!!!!!
Tomi on Dec 6, 2010
I am a diva! Spell it right and all will be hunky dory and right as rain.
Xerxex on Dec 6, 2010
W-O-W. So beautiful. So stressful. So so wonderful.
jaminpaul on Dec 6, 2010
Easy Xerxex, don't get excited. I'm just yankin' yer chain. By the way, I believe it's HONKY-dory. Diva.
JL on Dec 8, 2010
No, "JL" it's hunky dory. I love people who correct others and yet don't even bother to check Google. A generation of morons.
RockLobster on Dec 11, 2010
I went to see it last night, had to make a trip out of it with a little less than 2 hour drive, but it was worth it. Beautiful, dark, sinister, and exhausting in all the right ways. It kept me on my toes, more than I can say any action, thriller, or horror movie has, and leery of what would come next. I loved the constant questioning of reality and how far the character of Nina would actually go. It was funny, someone actually screamed near the end, twice. I think for that woman in particular, the movie just built up her nerves, and otherwise cheap surprises actually forced a reaction that had accumulated through the film. It's only "horrifying" in small doses on a psychological level. A few people compare it to Fight Club, and I would add to that The Machinist. I don't think I'm spoiling anything to say, you start to question everything, and most of the surreal moments fly out the window as part of the bizarre world forming. It seems inevitable that this film will get a lot of recognition come award time. I think it deserves it. Maybe people are hearing too much buzz and expecting a different film only to be disappointed, but I think the film took simple settings, some disturbing tricks and imagery, and really drove things with the acting and interactions of the characters. It's joined my list of favorite films.
SapphireD910 on Dec 13, 2010
This article needs to be bumped now that Black Swan is in wide release. Wow is all I can say. So much more intense than I expected. I'm not a supporter of or a believer in the validity of annual movie awards, but if Natalie doesn't sweep all of the best actress categories something is completely wrong in the world.
ibleedbloo on Dec 19, 2010
Two hours of my life that I will never get back. Pretentious junk-what a disappointment. Portman had only one expression-pained torture- that she rarely veared from. Dear God, spare me from any more "art house films" that make me want to walk out every ten minutes. The men who sat around me, snored almost immediately. The only thing that made me feel better was the ending-truly a fitting end to the whole freaking mess!
NL SUazo on Dec 23, 2010
Yup- the one-dimensionality of Portman's character really bothered me, too. Kept thinking another actress or director could have made her more real. Not a bad story.
Meribb1 on Jan 24, 2011
This movie was Egyptian Rape in my book. I still feel.. not quite right
Lauren on Dec 29, 2010
Darren Aronofsky is a true artist. I have been impressed by all his films to the point where i think he is undoubtedly damn near the best. I love how has everything that is in the movie there for a reason and this holds true in Black Swan. He showed his dedication to the craft when Requiem for a Dream received the NC17 rating, and despite appealing it on the grounds that all content is needed and editing would lessen the film, he was unable to get it changed. Still, he kept the film the same and accepted the rating that would highly prevent fast exposure. Like Requiem, Black Swan, is disturbingly honest, and some people may find it difficult to watch, but this allows it to really impact those who see it. As a psychology student I see Black Swan as a beautiful work of art that displays the incredible how that passion can do to one. We watch as Portman's character becomes consumed with her passion for ballet and its controls her. The exaggeration of how her passion consumes her and slowly destroys the areas of her life formerly kept under control is similar to the way an artist may exaggerate the features of a subject he paints. It makes everything much more visible but the way Aronofsky uses the story makes this very subtle. Portman gives her best performance, and as Aronofsky did with with Jennifer Connelly in Requiem, he is able to push Portman and make her performance seem like you really are watching the character not an actress playing it. The debate over how necessary the lesbian scene is foolish. This was the area of her life that becomes totally changed by her passion. It is disturbingly beautiful to witness her desire of the role force her timid sexual nature to the limit and the lesbian scene drives how just how far her passion controls her. Many wish the movie had focused more on other characters, but this would undoubtly make it a completely different movie. Aronofsky uses the medium of film to give ballet an entirely new perspective, and in the process we witness the movies true intent of showcasing Nina's downfall. The score is magnificent, and possibly Mansell's best yet. The incredible soundtrack completes the movie and intensifies the effect of the images greatly. Bravo Aronofsky, I look forward to his directing of The Wolverine and am sure it will be as excellent as the rest of his films. I can see his movement into major films definitely inspire a movement to bring art back into the cinema.
Stephen Robbins on Jan 1, 2011
SPOILER fuck sake... over hyped crap so many things annoyed me here...BIG MISTAKE like where was piece of glass in her belly through first half of the show she only found it before she died... explain "fans"?????????????????????
eh.....what about the glass??? on Jan 24, 2011
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