A bit too black for me…

In cinema, Hollywood on January 25, 2011 at 1:36 pm

The critics are raving and slating it in equal measure and I’d seen it described in equal measure as a thing of beauty and a chilling horror, so I was somewhat tentative when I went to watch Black Swan on Sunday.

I still have the reflex action of curling up my toes and fingers when I think of it now, such was the violence in the film – and I’m referring to the violence Natalie Portman’s nutty Nina the prima ballerina inflicts on herself, not her arch rival Lily in this movie.

Portman as the white swan consumed with producing the perfect performance

I never had any desires to be a dancer as a child (this is a good thing, considering my lack of coordination) and this film makes me grateful for that. While ballerinas the world over are snootily dismissing Portman’s poise and performance – she’s an actress, ladies, and a damn good one, not an ACTUAL ballerina – and others sniping about the clichēs within – eating disorders, bitchiness, obsessive jealousy, bullying, sexual experimentation and cloistering mothers – and how obvious they are, it doesn’t change the fact that this compelling and chilling thriller does affect the viewer and has them gasping in admiration for Portman’s spectacular performance.

As the evil black swan

She is utterly believable as the obsessive ballerina who will stop at nothing to give the perfect performance. I think she needs to start dusting her mantlepiece to make room for the raft of awards she’s sure to scoop this season.

On the subject of amazing, award winning actresses, I also watched Conviction, the true story of Betty Ann Waters, who spent 18 years putting herself through law school and qualifying with the sole aim of proving that her brother Kenny wasn’t guilty of the murder he was given a life sentence for.

I was expecting to be blown away by this because Hilary Swank was cast as Betty Ann, and given her outstanding performances in Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby, I’d actually have had her down for the Oscar, but somehow, though moving and thought provoking, the film failed to live up to my expectations.



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