‘Black Swan’ heads for an Oscar nomination

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“I just want to be perfect.” So says Natalie Portman in her role as Nina Sayers – a dedicated ballerina obsessed with snagging the ultimate role. "Black Swan" was released in December, but is already heavily predicted as a top runner in the Oscar lineup. Nina has danced in the same ballet corps for four years – but never as the principal dancer. Her life changes when she has the chance to dance as Swan Queen in her company’s performance of Swan Lake. Nina is talented, and her director (Vincent Cassel) tells her she would be perfect for the role of the White Swan. Unfortunately, he needs a dancer who is able to play both the White Swan and her evil twin, the Black Swan. Nevertheless, he gives her the part in the hopes that she can connect to her inner evil. Nina is a perfect dancer when it comes to technique, but her director urges her to let go of her perfection and lose herself in the role of the Black Swan. At home, Nina must deal with her overprotective and jealous mother (Barbara Hershey), who gave up her own ballet career to raise Nina. The pressure from her mother, her director, and a new dancer in the corps, Lily (Mila Kunis), who threatens to take Nina’s coveted part, may be too much for Nina. She is also disturbed by the raw emotion of the last principal dancer in the corps, Beth (Winona Ryder), who was forced to retire because of her age. Nina’s increasing distress and preoccupation with the dual role of White Swan and Black Swan threatens to take over all aspects of her life. Portman delivers a remarkable performance in her role as a young, childlike ballet dancer.  The psychological thriller is very well done artistically – the camera is always following Nina, and everything the audience sees is from her perspective. In the beginning of the movie, Nina is weak, but by the end she has discovered a hidden strength she didn’t know she had. The question is, is that strength good or bad?  The ending of the movie is left up to the viewer’s interpretation, in a similar way that "Inception" (2010) ended. Be advised that while the movie is an interesting portrayal of where obsession leads us, it relies heavily on Nina’s sexuality to showcase her changing personality. " Black Swan" is rated R for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language, and some drug use.
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