Kate is waiting for my thoughts on this one. We went to see it yesterday and when I came out of the cinema she asked me what I thought and I said: "I can't decide whether it's brilliant or just *shrugs and makes indifferent sound*.
I think part of the problem is that there has been so much hype around it and everyone I know who's seen it says it is brilliant. And coming off the back of three really, really good films: King's Speech, 127 Hours and Biutiful it had a lot to live up to.
Nina, played absolutely brilliantly by Natalie Portman who apparently trained for a year, wins the coveted role of playing White and Black Swans in Swan Lake. She's got the virginal innocence of the White Swan down pat but the Black Swan, she is told by artistic director Thomas (Vincent Cassel), requires her to let go completely, drawing on something less perfect within.
Thomas needs Nina to be a success as the fresh new face of the failing ballet company. Add to this an over-protective, overbearing mother who is hell-bent on living out the ballet career she never had through her daughter and the pressure is on. Performing the Black Swan Thomas wants seems to require a different Nina, something she fights to become.
Black Swan is an uncomfortable watch. Nina is prone to self harming and there was much for the squeamish inside me to squirm at. Black Swan is also very well made and it oozes tension - who'd have thought that of a ballet movie?