The Black Abyss of “Black Swan”.

by Joanna D'Angelo

i went to see “Black Swan” last night. i won't bore you with a movie review as i'm sure most of you have either heard of it or seen it....

but i will say this -

in my past i was a movie critic for CBC Radio in Ottawa and when you a review movie you watch it through 2 pairs of eyes - the spectator and the critic.

as a critic i would have said many fine things about this film.

it truly is a remarkable movie - and Darren Aronofsky has proven to us once again that he is one of the most accomplished fillmmakers working today.

i would urge people to go and see “Black Swan”.

but as a spectator - i will say that once is quite enough for me.

i went to see it with a dear friend of mine.

and both of us come from families with mental illness.

we understand obsession.

needless to say we both found ourselves crying by the end.

when you have seen someone you love break in two -

it is one of the most painful experiences you can go through.

my friend and i both agree -

that sometimes it’s harder to stay in the light than to step into the dark.

so much harder.

we have stood on the edge of that abyss

and looked down.

but we pull ourselves back from the edge.

because somewhere inside of us is a light.

and we will always hold onto it.

even if it’s the hardest thing we do.


  1. I know what you mean, Joanna.

    Personally, I can't wait to see Black Swan, as I'm sure you know I'm a ballet freak of incurable proportions. And I'm a big fan of Darren Aronofsky. And my husband has bipolar disorder, and I'm keen on the mental-illness-out-of-the-closet thing.

    However, when a film really strikes a chord inside you - a painful one - it becomes a true ordeal that you experience along with the characters. Two exceptional films that did that to me were Sophie's Choice and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. I can never even consider watching either one again. I was completely bereft during both films.

    To be honest, I was so distressed during the scene where Sophie had to choose that I actually blacked out right there in my seat at the movie theatre. And the scene from the other one where the Thief took revenge on the Lover - it was my mistake to only shut my eyes, as I could hear everything and that will always haunt me.

    The power of film is that it can do these things to audiences. It's good that you give people fair warning, because if one is only expecting a ballet film it could be very off-putting or disturbing - especially as so many families deal with mental illness.

  2. Thank you Julia for your comment - we are simpatico you and i - ;D

    and i agree - those of us who witness it firsthand or have experienced it - know that kind of pain.

    take care,

  3. Jojo, I have been meaning to comment on this for... well... since you posted it but now it seems like forever! I did enjoy Black Swan, but then again I saw it followed by a Q & A with the entire cast and crew and Vincent Cassel sat right in front of me... But I never connected to it deeply, on a heart level. Then films that are judged barely better than watching paint dry, like Coppola's Somewhere, I connect to through my soul because of my father issues. I really enjoyed this wonderful post of yours and learned something new and wise about you. Kudos and thanks for sharing!!

  4. thank you Nina. WOW! Lucky you. ;)

    i think we all bring our personal feelings/thoughts/experiences with us when we watch a film - and it affects us in different ways.

    thank you for your comment.


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