Darren Aronofsky does a masterful job in creating a dark reality that echoes throughout the film. From the absence of light throughout to the intentional use of contrasting black and white; it is apparent that Aronofsky doesn’t only want you to feel the struggle but also to see it. There is a lot of uncertainty in the shadows. Which is why feeling confused is essential to a film like this. It doesn’t want to spoon feed answers but rather provoke questions of motivation that lurk within us. We are capable of good actions with evil intentions. The converse is also true. For example: why does Nina’s mom support her daughters dream to be a prima ballerina? Is it a self-serving action or is it something else? Why does Lily befriend Nina? Why does Thomas choose Nina as the Queen Swan? Why does Nina’s mom cancel her first show as the Swan Queen on opening night? Is it really for her health or something else? Questions like these arise without a resolute answer because it is in the grey areas of our hearts that we have the potential of deceiving ourselves. I’m not sure that Nina’s mom is borderline obsessive about Nina’s success just because of her own failed dream. There is more to why we do what we do.
I realize that some of the erotic content is a bit disturbing, so be warned. But I’m more interested in the statement about the competency for self-pleasure that is becoming more rampant today. Can we satisfy our own sexual desires without the involvement of another human being? Is that a by-product of our current technological revolution? Where will this lead to?I digress.
The emotional rawness of Natalie Portman is brilliant. The portrayal of paranoid fragility is only illuminated by her transformation to the Black Swan. Without saying a word she commands the seductive confidence we all hoped she could find within herself. Yet the question that we are left with is: At what cost do we attain the perfection we long for?