I thought Natalie Portman was really great and man I looooove ballet. I have always loved ballet. (I was a ballerina for much of childhood.)
But as I’ve been telling people all week Black Swan:ballet::The Wrestler: wrestling. [Same director, in case you weren’t aware.] In many, MANY ways, this is the same movie all over again. And while I love ballet, I HATED THE WRESTLER. Hated.
Aronofsky seems stuck on this entirely FALSE proposition that in order to really truly excel at your art (whatever that is, even wrestling) one must commit to the point of suicide via your art. Not only do I think that’s an entirely erroneous point of view, I think it’s a dangerous one to be promoting.
The trope of “being too technically perfect but unable to show emotion” is indeed a true one in ballet, but it’s also a very tired out, been there done that, trope in cinema, particularly when it comes to females. And the whole “she has to get a little crazy sexually in order to show emotion” stereotype also bores me to pieces. Not true, stupid, irritating.
The REAL story in this movie, and the one that should have been explored, is the relationship with the mother. A movie on that situation might have been truly interesting and the performances in those scenes were far more interesting than the rest of the movie.
I should say it is really effective as a psychological thriller. Some great shocks to the system — when you know who comes to the door to say “you were great” and Portman thinks that person is you know what? Yeah, that was great. When you know who does you know what in the hospital? WOAH.
But none of that changes how I felt overall.