The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

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‘Swan’ makes over classic story

By Melanie Bertoldi

Photo Courtesy of Fox Search Light

Renowned director of dread Darren Aronofsky has done the job once more, this time with his much-hyped ballerina flick, “Black Swan.”

There’s so much more to this film’s plot than meets the eye, and it’s therefore prudent that Aronofsky stray from his signature absurdist style a bit to tell its story. Fans of his 2000 indie classic “Requiem For A Dream” may be a bit underwhelmed with his attack on their senses this time around, but the empathy he elicits from moviegoers for the film’s main character and her ultimate decision is unparalleled.

The main figures in “Black Swan” are meant to resemble those of the classic ballet production, “Swan Lake.” Throughout the film, the New York City Ballet, the company for which rival ballerinas Nina (Natalie Portman) and Lily (Mila Kunis) dance, is working toward presenting the ballet. Nina is chosen to portray the lead role of the Swan Queen, a task for which she must encompass both the white and black swan. For those who are familiar with “Swan Lake” and its conclusion, this film’s ending is anything but shocking, but regardless, its most invaluable element is Portman’s connection with viewers.

Just as integral to this film’s success as Portman’s performance are those of Kunis and Winona Ryder. Ryder plays Beth, a veteran dancer whose position as Swan Queen has been filled by Portman. A 30-something, Beth’s on her way out of the company. Superior performances aside, both she and Lily are most critical in their roles as foils for Nina. Beth showcases the embitterment that Nina is reluctant to admit to, while Lily stands for all things dark – namely, sex, drugs and trickery – that Nina tries to tap into for the better part of this film.

The transition Nina finally makes, both literally and figuratively, is as inevitable as it is jarring. Seriously, something’s gotta give when you’re working so hard that you’re dancing so hard you throw up in the daytime and chugging ecstacy-infused cocktails with Kunis at night.

For those who are curious to see if Aronofsky has an effect on their moral compass, aren’t impartial to classical ballet, weighty scenes of girl-on-girl and hands-in-pants heavy petting, and suspending a whole lot of disbelief, then this film certainly lives up to its hype.

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