Black Swan Makes All The Right Moves - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Black Swan Makes All The Right Moves

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Ron Millennor (FOX19)

Black Swan is as vague as a shadow but hard-hitting as a slap to the face. Darren Aronofsky's (The Wrestler) physiological conundrum will leave you wondering what's real and what's imagined. But it will also leave you highly entertained.

The story is centered around a dancer, Nina, brilliantly played by Natalie Portman, trying to make it in the cut-throat world of ballet. Nina is innocent, naive to the ways of the world, and severely damaged, both emotionally and physically.

The physical damage comes with the territory...the gnarly feet, the black and blue limbs and the, oh so frail, gaunt physique. But it's the emotional scars that really torment Nina. Most of which are provided by her mother, creepily played by Barbara Hershey. Joan Crawford looks like mother of the year compared to Erica.

Erica, who was once a dancer, has one goal for Nina, to be the lead. And Nina finally achieves it when she gets the role as both the White and Black Swan in Swan Lake. The company's director, Thomas, a lecherous cad, knows Nina already has the innocense to be the perfect White Swan, but needs to let go in order to find her Black Swan. "Go home and touch yourself" he instructs Nina, as if it's part of her homework.

Nina takes his advise and runs with it...actually becoming obsessed to the point of ripping at her flesh, ignoring her crazy mother and having an affair (or does she?) with a fellow dancer, Lilly (a beautifully evil Mila Kunis).

Ultimately Nina gets what she's always wanted, perfection. But she pays with her sanity.

I would be remiss not to mention a small, but powerfully neurotic performance by Winona Ryder, who plays Beth, the company's former prima ballerina.

But the real star of this film is Portman. The lean beauty spent over a year training to master the complex dance moves, not to mention dropping 15 pounds off an already thin frame. She makes all the right moves, both on and off the dance floor. And will no doubt get an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Look for Hershey to also get an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress.

Black Swan will leave you emotionally drained but still wanting more. And like his film The Wrestler, the ambiguous ending leaves you with more questions than answers. But isn't that what a good piece of art is supposed to do...have an affect? Make you think and discuss? And this is one fine piece of art.



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