"Black Swan" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 02/27/15
A young ballerina receives the starring role she has always dreamed of but the resulting pressure causes a descent into mental deterioration and madness. Black Swan is essentially about the pressure to be "perfect" and the way society sits in judgement over young women, and how peers and otherwise well-meaning parental figures can resent their success leading to insecurity and anxiety even amongst those who are considered the pinnacle of beauty and achievement. As we saw in Requiem For A Dream, Aronofsky has a real knack for representing mental deterioration and his use of surreal imagery is both creative and shocking, a couple of sequences being far more chilling than most so-called "horror" films these days. Natalie Portman puts in a compelling performance as the fragile young woman, buckling under the stress of her success and Aronofsky's documentary style fits the subject matter perfectly. To say that I am not a fan of ballet would be a serious understatement, but this character study cum psychological horror story transcends its setting to become a shocking and thoughtful commentary on how it feels to be a young woman in such a judgemental society.