Couch Critic: Black Swan

December 16, 2010 Film Reviews

5 out of 5 stars

Five out of five stars usually means “I loved this movie.” But can anyone really love Black Swan? Numerous adjectives can be used to describe the experience: intense, breathtaking, gripping, powerful, dark, even beautiful; but none of these words suit that emotion of love. So I choose to say: “This movie was perfect.”

During the course of the film I squirmed, wrung my hands, was short of breath, but more tellingly I was emotionally annexed. Never before have had I felt such a hostile takeover of my feelings while viewing a film. I typically need to analyze movies and deconstruct them in some sort of thinking game I play with the director. Darren Aronofsky didn’t just make that an unnecessary exercise for me but incapacitated my ability to do so. Instead of Black Swan telling me what to think about what I was seeing, it told me what to feel.

The final dance of the black swan was easily one of the best on screen moments I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t figure if I felt like bursting into tears or screaming rapturously, but the performance was so visceral I held it in my gut even after I pried myself from my chair.

The themes of perfection and obsession have multiple layers as Aronofsky does an incredible job of blending the parallel stories of Black Swan the ballet and the torment of Natalie Portman’s swan queen. The cast is perfect, Portman is impeccable, the score elevates the visuals, and I can’t imagine any director creating a finer work this year. The most commanding and flawless art as art I’ve ever seen on screen.