BLACK SWAN: DESTRUCTION IS ONLY THE CREATION OF PERFECTION
By Stella Nagle
Can destruction in the chase of perfection be beautiful? Beauty is a theme highlighted throughout the gothic film titled Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky.
The main character, Nina, is played by Natalie Portman. Nina is a prima ballerina who has been dancing her whole life with dreams of becoming the perfect ballerina. The film is in first-person, allowing the audience to see into Nina’s brain. Her mind, riddled with anxiety, quickly turns into a dark turmoil and becomes further unhinged.
Nina is the perfect dancer for the role of the white swan. Her perfection and demeanor while dancing is everything the white swan portrays. She is pure, strong, and talented for the position. When her company's director announces her for the lead, he reveals that she will play the white and black swan. A battle of good and evil quickly unfolds in Nina’s mind as she struggles to play both roles.
Nina is challenged with stepping outside of everything she knows to allow herself to let loose and become an evil character. Eventually, she becomes so focused on striving toward perfection that she is blind to the damage she is causing. The audience sees the result of this damage later in the film when she begins to hallucinate. As Nina begins to have vivid hallucinations, she questions her reality, making the audience question their reality. It also makes the audience doubt her as a narrator.
This is what makes this film so powerful. The terror comes from the lack of trust in the scenes unfolding in front of the audience’s eyes and within Nina herself.
The balance, or lack thereof, within the film is executed flawlessly. Gruesome scenes followed by delicate ballet performances create an imbalance that portrays the dark underlying nature of this strong and delicate sport that has not been seen. In addition, the back and forth between the fantasy of the mind and reality creates an exciting dynamic.
Even with such uncertainty and mental chaos, there is an underlying theme of beauty. How can one achieve such beauty in the midst of destroying themselves? Beauty is part of her passion and determination, which she has put into her dancing. Beauty also is exhibited in the lengths she was willing to go to reach her goals and in how she died after achieving perfection.
While exaggerated for entertainment, Black Swan shows the good and evil within the dancer's mind. The world and entertainment can determine the extreme measures some are willing to take to go from good to significant, but letting themselves go to these extremes can be dangerous or even deadly.
The film's scenes balance the need for both evil and good. For Nina, her story is the ultimate example of toxic love. She loved the art of ballet and became fixated on attaining perfection and beauty, but it also may have destroyed her.
The struggle for power within Nina's mind makes the film so exciting to watch. Her internal power struggle, mixed with the fantastic and unique camera shots, allows viewers to become enraptured by the film.
I highly recommend this film to anyone seeking a different type of horror film. This movie will give you terrifying goosebumps and a terrifying connection to the main character Nina, like no film has done before.