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“Black Swan” (2010) Dir Darren Aronofsky

This is a great film with a memorable plot and script, fantastic acting especially from Natalie Portman in the lead, and is a picture which delves into the dark side discussing themes of self harm, suicide, sexual fantasy, bullying and manipulation.

Nina Sayers (Portman) is a jobbing dancer with a New York Ballet until the retirement of Beth (Winona Ryder) sees her unexpectedly thrust firmly into the limelight playing the lead in the epic tragedy Swan Lake.

Then the trouble begins as real life starts to mimic the plot of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece and Nina encounters a perfect storm of a failed mother cum mentor in dance, a sleazy and manipulative director and a manically jealous (or is she?) understudy which causes our heroine to slide back into a life of paranoia, hallucination and self harm as she tries desperately to find her own voice in the part.

Most females I have spoken to have been under the impression that this would be a feel good film about ballet, and whilst the dancing scenes are stunning and a reminder of what a great art form this is, the strong nature and portrayal of the material leave many to leave the cinema strangely confused by what they have seen. This is a very disturbing psycho thriller, and one that should be promoted in this genre.

Portman deserves her Oscar nomination and this picture deserves every accolade.

I agree with Black Swan being a 15 cert, but just wish there could be more clarity from the censors as I am sure there are 18s out there with less strong content. I err on the liberal side when it comes to but urge the BBFC to be more consistent when dishing out the certs.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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