The film also touches on the volatile relationship between mother and daughter; either represented as a current issue of ‘pushy parents’ striving for the best for themselves through their child or living vicariously through someone else to perfect their unfinished dreams. The film sees Nina’s mum to be the real monster, who pushes Nina to be the star, but then tries to sabotages her daughter at every opportunity - this is shown through the calorific cake and trying to stop her daughter from performing on opening night. Resentment and jealously is shown throughout the relationship, but is originally smothered by child like niceties. Catherine Bray states, "With brilliant performances and striking visuals, Black Swan is what some people like to call bravura film-making. It is also often pleasingly mad, less pleasingly shrill and has a genuine knack for building tension on the slimmest of pretexts. The role of Nina, a neurotic, obsessive ballerina dominated by her scary mother, sees Natalie Portman give what is without doubt her most forceful performance to date." (Bray 2011) Bray praises Portman's performance and conveys the qualities expressed by the character that she plays to a t.
The use of the mirrors are prominent within nearly every scene, of course relating to the idea of the 'double' but also highlighting Nina's disturbed mental state. The subtle hints of Nina's mental state are constant and it's not till the viewer gets further into the film that they start to piece it together i.e. the 'feather-like' rash which turns out to be her scratching/self harming her back. Aronofsky immerses his audience into Nina's head and plays them till the end. The idea she's growing feathers is not only created visually perfect by CG, but also a clever implement used by the director.
Mark Adams suggests, "The film is complex, dark, exhilarating and vibrant, with director Darren Aronofsky (who made The Wrestler) creating a vibrant, often intoxicating drama rich in music, mood and menace. The dancing is wonderful and the performances sublime. Black Swan is a powerfully potent psychological drama." (Adams 2011) Adams makes it clear to the viewer his admiration for the music and powerfulness of the film. The film throughout produces an intense energy that the audience can't help but feel.
The final line "I felt it. Perfect. I was perfect," (said by Nina) is eerily creepy, yet, excuse the pun, a perfect line to end the film on!
List of illustrations
Figure 1. Aronofsky, Darren (2010) Black Swan Movie Poster. At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/68/Black_Swan_poster.jpg (Accessed on:12/10/11)
Figure 2. Aronofsky, Darren (2010) Nina's reflection. At:
http://www.heart.co.uk/showbiz/movies/black-swan-photos/black-swan-5/ (Accessed on:12/10/11)
Figure 3. Aronofsky, Darren (2010) "The Double". At: http://www.onlinemovieshut.com/online-movies/black-swan-movie-stills-released (Accessed on:12/10/11)
Figure 4. Aronofsky, Darren (2010) Nina as the Black Swan. At: http://xxcnc.com/why-isnt-the-black-swan-considered-a-horror-movie/ (Accessed on:12/10/11)
The Guardian Peter Bradshaw (2011) Black Swan - review. At: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/jan/20/black-swan-review (Accessed on:12/10/11)
Sunday Mirror Mark Adams (2011) Film Review - Black Swan. At: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv-entertainment/film/film-reviews/mark-adams/2011/01/16/film-review-black-swan-115875-22851320/ (Accessed on:12/10/11)
Film4 Catherine Bray (2011) Black Swan. At: http://www.film4.com/reviews/2010/black-swan (Accessed on:12/10/11)