Black Swan Will Grip You

by Michelle Miles

It’s no wonder Natalie Portman won a Golden Globe for her performance in Black Swan Sunday night. It’s one of those movies that stick with you and maybe not in the best way. More of a twisted/psycho way.

I used to dance en pointe and so I’m always interested in seeing movies that portray the dance. But Black Swan isn’t your mother’s Swan Lake. And it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. We went into the movie with expectations that it was going to be weird and we weren’t disappointed.

Black Swan is the kind of movie teenagers sneak into (and did) because there is “strong sexual content.” And indeed there is that (though not a lot of flesh is flashed). Oftentimes eroticism can happen on the screen without showing a breast of any other female body part. This movie does that. It gives you images and pulls you into Nina’s mind. We’re just along for the ride, watching the things she does in her quest to be perfect in the dance.

Nina’s life is ruled by the ballet. She wants the lead role in Swan Lake which means she’ll be dancing as the white swan and the black swan. (Perhaps I should mention here the story of Swan Lake. Here it is in a nutshell and the story as per the movie: A beautiful young woman is cursed into the body of a swan—the Swan Queen—and the only way it can be broken is by the love of a prince. But her evil twin sister, the black swan, seduces him instead, leaving the swan queen trapped. To gain her freedom, she plunges into the lake, and drowns.) The choreographer is convinced she’s perfect as the white swan, but thinks she lacks something as the seductive, sexy black swan.

Isn’t that always the way?

Newcomer Lily (Mila Kunis), though, is the embodiment of the black swan. Sexy, seductive, wild girl. Nina and Lily forge a rivalry and a strange friendship and Nina begins to think she’s trying to replace her in the ballet as the Swan Queen.

It’s this paranoia and the drive to be perfect that forces Nina’s OCD to come forward full-force. Even her over-protective mother, played by Barbara Hershey, has a difficult time controlling her.

Black Swan is the story of a woman who drives herself to madness while trying to be perfect. It’s a dark and twisty place. I don’t know I could recommend it without preparing you for the dark and twisty. Don’t go into it thinking it’s a warm and fuzzy ballet movie, because it isn’t. What it is, though, is definitely a movie that sticks with you long after you walk out of the theater.

Michelle Miles writes romance, drinks coffee, and tries hard to stay away from the dark and twisty. For for information about her books, visit her website.


  1. Michelle,

    I saw Black Swan over the weekend. Very good, but very disturbing. I agree Portman deserved to win the Golden Globe. Although Entertainment Weekly felt her acting was "passive." It's definitely a twisted movie not for the faint-hearted. My husband and I intended to see Harry Potter but it was sold out. I had been telling him Black Swan was very dark and I didn't want to see it. Here we were in line to buy movie tickets and arguing about what to see since we couldn't see HP. I wanted to see The King's Speech. We were next in line and had to decide which movie. Hubby won out. He likes dark movies. I'm glad now we saw Black Swan.

  2. You convinced me! ~Plotting to make man go with me via lure of "strong sexual content"~

  3. Okay, but did you hear her crazy laugh during her GG acceptance speech?
    After she joked about her "great actor" fiancee having to pretend he didn't want to sleep with her?


  4. Terrific article. This is top of my list to see before the Oscars. Did you see V is for Vendetta? Sounds like Black Swan is even darker and trippier. I appreciate the warning though. A friend of mine and I went to see Million Dollar Baby when it first came out with the expectation that it would be a female Rocky. Needless to say, our pockets were empty of tissue packs and we ended up wiping our noses on our sleeves!

    The King's Speech and the new HP are also on my list. I need a movie marathon day!

  5. Great review! :)

    I went to see it with my 19 year old and we loved it! I'ma wimp so I had to cover my eyes a couple times. Lots of very intense scary points.

    And you're right, it hauntsyou after you leave the theater. I kept wondering how much was real and hw much was in her head...

    I thought Natalie Portmanw as amazing!

    Definitely trippy and worth seeing... Huge shift from the typial action movies and romantic comedies you see in the theater...

    Lisa :)

  6. Michelle, sounds like a good movie, but not my kind. I am the faint-hearted. LOL

  7. Michelle, I have heard lots about this movie, some good, some bad. I think it might be an awesome study in extreme characterizations, whether or not the movie is enjoyable. For me, though, I'd prefer comedic action or rom-com with a light touch. When in Rome, anyone?

  8. I can't wait to see this movie. I did ballet for awhile, and dark, trippy ballet sounds highly entertaining. Thanks for the review!

  9. Michelle, this movie sounds intriguing. I've always drifted toward the dark and moody side for some bizarre reason. I'll have to see this one. Thanks for the review!

    Wendy T

  10. Michelle - i've seen Black Swan too - and it is a very powerful film - so hard to watch though - I don't think I could ever watch it again. Movies about mental illness always get to me - and this one was a tough one.


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