Black Swan: Natalie Portman stars in Oscar-nominated film

Ross Schuette, Staff Writer

Natalie Portman continues to amaze moviegoers with a stunning Oscar-nominated role in the new release “Black Swan.” Through this role she explores the eerie world of mental sickness, strained relationships and professional dance with co-stars Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, and Vincent Cassel. This dark yet beautiful film was directed by Oscar-nominee Darren Aronofsky.

Portman stars as Nina, a frail ballerina of a prestigious New York ballet company. The film begins with Nina dancing in a star role on stage in a white spotlight as darkness surrounds her. After a long unbroken dance scene, Nina wakes up in her bedroom of her overbearing mother’s (Hershey) apartment.

Nina’s dreams soon come true when she is cast by an invasive director Thomas (Cassel) as the lead in the new ballet production “Black Swan.” The role requires timid Nina to play both the Swan Queen and the alternate role in the story, the seductive Black Swan.

The dance crew is stunned by Thomas’ choice, particularly one new, insidious dancer Lily (Kunis). Lily intimidates Nina, challenging her position in the company. The film delves into the ballet and home life of Nina, including a look at the cutthroat world of professional ballet.

The relationships between Nina and her director, mother, and rival are remarkably well built with a script and settings to illustrate emotions in the film. The setting of Nina’s apartment and ballet create an interesting juxtaposition. The parallels between characters, including those in the ballet production, are extraordinarily manifested, culminating in a magnificent climax.

The effort put into the production of this film is clear, whether through the story, the acting or the dance scenes. Portman trained for a year and altered her diet to lose 20 pounds for her role.

The dance scenes are as exquisite as the filming of them. The scenes are unbroken, exemplifying the talent required to execute them, and move with the dancers while carefully avoiding the two walls of mirrors in a ballet practice room. The necessity for perfection in the ballet is reflected in the necessity for perfection in the film.

The music of the film brilliantly narrates each scene and the changes within them. The Oscar-nominated editing and cinematography further emphasize the narration of scenes in this mind-wrenching film. The depth of the characters and the relationships between them makes this film worthy of five Oscar-nominations, as well as a ticket-purchase from film and dance lovers alike.