Black Swan-My Perspective

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis
Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis
Wynona Rider
Wynona Rider
Barbara Hershey as the overbearing mother
Barbara Hershey as the overbearing mother
Nina and her director
Nina and her director

The movie from director Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan is an incredible movie, but is open to interpretation, just ask anyone who has seen it, and they may very well give you a totally different version of the movie. The reason for this is that this movie almost looks like a dream from the perspective of the audience, considering all the scenes in which the audience is not sure whether or not what they saw actually happened, or whether it was in the mind of the protagonist, played by Natalie Portman.

The plot of the movie concerns the lead ballerina in a production of Swan Lake, played by Natalie. She is up for the dual role of the white swan and black swan. The role is a life long dream for Natalie’s character Nina Sayers, and she works hard to become picked to be the swan queen. Wynona Rider plays a small part as the over the hill ballerina who is being replaced by Portman and isn’t too happy about it, as the life of a ballerina in her prime is a very short lived gig apparently.

The ballet director chooses Portman for the role, and is sure that she will have no problems playing the white swan, but it is obvious that he isn’t completely sure that she will have what it takes to become the darker counterpart that the black swan role calls for. This part of the ballet calls for more of a passionate, secure, dancer and he is trying to bring out those characteristics in Nina’s character.

During the auditions, the life of the ballerina is very accurately portrayed and one gets the sense that Natalie Portman really fit’s the role of the ballerina brilliantly with her beautiful petite figure, and she has really great form as she practiced for this role for about 6 months, according to one of her interviews about this movie, she also lost about 20 pounds. Mila Kunis is another dancer who also wants the lead role but is cast as the understudy to Portman and that’s when the most of the drama starts, or the hallucinations start, however you want to think of it. Nina (Portman) is very aware that Lily who is played by Kunis is more secure about her sexuality and secure about her abilities as a dancer.

Nina is very stressed out about her role as the swan queen and wants to play it perfectly and this has her so frazzled that she starts to see odd things at every turn, she is plagued by weird odd visions. And at one point thinks that Lily is trying to steal the role from her. She also has an overbearing mother played by Barbara Hershey, who is also a has been dancer who never quite reached her potential as a dancer, and who is obviously living vicariously through her daughter Nina. One wonders why Nina gives her mother so much control over her life, because at her age she is still living at home with her mother and it is obvious that her mother has issues, as in one scene she has a cake for Nina and when Nina doesn't want to eat it, she freaks out and totally over reacts.....very strange.

Nina is so stressed out about her visions, about her role as the swan queen, and about her overbearing mother that she is extremely overwhelmed, and this plays a big part in what happens next. I don’t want to spoil the movie for those that want to see it, so I will not reveal too much more but everyone that I have talked to that have seen the movie has a different interpretation of the film. I guess Aronofsky wants to keep people guessing as he obviously did not fully explain the film in any shape or form. He is leaving it up to the audience to make their own conclusions.

My Interpretation

I personally think that Nina is suffering from some sort of mental illness that makes her see visions and makes her paranoid that stems from the stress that she is under. I think its also kind of weird that you hardly see anyone else talking to Lily, which makes me think that maybe Lily doesn’t even exist. There are some sexual scenes between Lily and Nina that are very explicit but I believe in Nina’s desire to get in touch with her sensuality, she hallucinates the sex between her and Lily. She secretly wants to be like Lily, who is very free spirited and in touch with her sensuality, which Nina obviously isn’t and uses that energy to morph herself into becoming the black swan. Which she does play to perfection or does she?

See the movie for yourself and see if your interpretation comes anywhere near mine. There are plenty of other ways that this movie could be explained. I mean just the relationship between Nina and her mother is kind of a weird, overbearing, over controlling type of relationship. I mean Nina is a full grown woman and her mother still dresses her and clips her fingernails, I think their relationship could be explained better in the movie and there has to be some kind of weird story there as well. Either way I did enjoy the movie, it was fun trying to analyze the movie and trying to understand it, as some odd things are at every turn throughout the film. Mainly, just watching Natalie Portman dancing as a ballerina was well worth the time because she is very graceful in this film, and really stretches her acting abilities to their limits. She won the Golden Globe for this role, so that usually means she may get nominated for an Academy Award, which I completely agree with. It would be nice if she won the Oscar and then explained the movie, but I doubt that happens.

For its artistic flair and great, creative, bold moves, I highly recommend this movie. But keep in mind that you have to also have an open mind when it comes to this movie, as it is very explicit, with scenes that are very odd and graphic.


© 2011 ladyjane1

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Comments 39 comments

Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago

Excellent review, ladyjane. I was watching the movie half way when I saw your hub coming. I am glad I read this review before finishing the movie, as I can really appreciate it more. Natalie did a really spectacular act.

I'd say, the movie is a perfect manifestation of art.

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ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Ingenira thank you and I agree with you it was definitely the perfect manifestation of art. Cheers.

Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico

Enjoyed your review! I'll definitely see this movie. Also, the SNL clip had me howling.

Sylvia Leong profile image

Sylvia Leong 6 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

Thanks for the review. I can't wait to see this movie!

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ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Lee you are welcome for the review and I agree the SnL clip was a hoot. Thanks for reading, cheers.

Sylvia if you see this movie, I hope you enjoy it. Cheers.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

I saw this film, ladyjane, and you wrote an excellent summary of it without revealing too much of its convoluted plot. Natalie is an excellent actress and her talent for ballet is amazing. She should win an Academy Award nomination at the very least.

rose56 profile image

rose56 6 years ago

Awesome I think you did a good job explaining the movie.

It was a movie that made you think alright. Good job Sis.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

drbj and Rose56 thanks for reading and for your comments. I really hope that Portman wins the Oscar for this role she really deserves it as far as Im concerned. I appreciate the visit. Cheers to you both.

geegee77 profile image

geegee77 6 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

Wow I really need to see it now that Ive read this, love the snl clip too:) good job love ya sis ge

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

thanks a lot sis if you watch the movie hope you like it and understand it lol. Cheers.

amybradley77 profile image

amybradley77 6 years ago

I'm a fan of both Natalie Portman, and Jim Carey so I loved this page for the video content, but your writing has convinced me now I must see this movie for myself too, thank you. A.B.

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ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

amybradley77 I hope you enjoy the movie when you see it and I agree about Jim Carey he was just too funny on SNL and I couldn't resist. Thanks for stopping by.Cheers.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Black Swan sounds quite interesting and I love the weird psychological angle. Thanks for the review1 Always looking for a new movie to watch!

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ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Dolores it was an interesting movie and really leaves you kind of perplexed trying to solve it and if you like the psychological angle than you will love it. Hope you enjoy it and then maybe you can explain it to me LOL. Cheers.

Naim Hasan profile image

Naim Hasan 6 years ago from Dhaka

Its a thrilling movie, but i didnt get any message from it. I think Natalie Portman's character was not well defined, and it's without any strong background, though i know it has been highly rated in IMDB and other websites, and there are many things in this movie to appreciate, yet im not satisfied, and i dont know why!

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Naim Hasan thanks for reading and I agree it is a thrilling movie. Maybe there isn't anything deeper than what we see but I always assume there is some psychological deeper meaning to every movie, makes it more exciting for me. Sorry you weren't satisfied, but I agree that it isn't for everyone. Cheers.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

Very interesting perspective. I have not seen the movie yet but just reading your piece makes me want to see it now...they should pay you! LOL! This reminds me of an older movie, "The Big Chill" is which a character, Alex, who was a friend to all in the movie commits suicide...I was amazed that no one I knew could figure out why he did it? Ask me sometimes and I will share! WB

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

Wayne thanks for reading and for your interesting comments. And you are right, I should get payed!! LOL. Yes I remember the BiG Chill was a great movie. I do remember that Kevin Costner played the role of Alex even if we never saw his face only his body being prepped for the funeral. But I do recall that they said he never left a suicide note and I don't think they mentioned why he died so please put me outa my misery and tell me already. LOL. Cheers Wayne.

freshlaundry71 profile image

freshlaundry71 6 years ago

I loved dishing about it with you...and I completely love your analogy...GO LADYJANE1!

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas Author

freshlaundry71 thanks for reading and for the compliment. It was fun getting each others perspective on this movie. I think we both finally agreed it was weird. LOL. Cheers.

passonno73 profile image

passonno73 5 years ago

Can't wait to see it!Good hub!

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ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks passonno73 if you do see it I hope you enjoy it. Cheers.

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

ladyjane1, wonderful review. I definately have to watch the movie now. It seems to have so many twists and turns.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas Author

KKG thanks for reading and if you see the movie I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Cheers to you.

afro's mistake profile image

afro's mistake 5 years ago from dorothys kansas

whoa just read your hub and watched the trailer and now i know i want to see this, so dramatic!!

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas Author

thanks afro's mistake. It is certainly dramatic and I hope you enjoy it when you see it. Cheers.

Green Wasabi profile image

Green Wasabi 5 years ago

I really like your interpretation, that Lily could be imaginary. It could be her alter ego. That would also explain Nina's fighting against her, because she was constantly told that "you are the only one who stands in your way".

I would also recommend classical movie "Red shoes" which also reveals drama of love and art in a context of ballet. It is interesting to compare, although those two are really very different movies.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas Author

Green Wasabi thanks for reading my hub and understanding my interpretation, Im no film critic but I did enjoy the movie. I don't think I ever saw Red Shoes but I might just check it out. Thanks for sharing. Cheers.

The Jet profile image

The Jet 5 years ago from The Bay

I loved the way this film was shot and directed. Cinematography was so visceral and beautiful at the same time. I don't really like ballet -- but the direction of Aronofsky is as superb as ever. Aronofsky has really outdone himself from a compelling film called The Wrestler. Cool hub.

b4murray profile image

b4murray 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Nice review, Film was great.

I also wasn't sure what was real and what was a hallucination. Cant wait to watch it on DVD, to see the behind the scenes.

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bolt1951 5 years ago

Hello ladyjane1,

Interesting enough I had the same outlook you did,

however I believe that the more she got involved with the part of the Swan the intensity of her desire overtook her reality and she actually took it a step further and became the story.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas Author

bolt1951 thanks for reading and you have an interesting perspective, our outlooks are basically the same. Cheers to you.

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bolt1951 5 years ago

Thank You ladyjane1,

This was very interesting read, I know you probably get alot of this...

MelChi profile image

MelChi 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

This is one of my favourite movies, one that is definitely worth seeing again! Natalie Portman was the perfect choice for her role, and I was hooked from the opening scene. Enjoyed your hub :)

John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hi ladyjane1, loved your hub.

I was reading that the narrative may have been based on Dostoevsky's "The Double," not sure what your take on that is. Additionally, Tchaikovsky was gay, and some say the lesbian scene in the movie makes connotation to Tchaikovsky's sexually repressed life, since gays had it difficult back in his day. I did enjoy the film, but the finale was a bit scary for my blood....

Take care and voted useful


g-girl11 profile image

g-girl11 4 years ago

I loved this movie! Whenever I think something I've done just isn't good enough, I think of that chilling line: "There IS perfect!" That was brilliant.

I agree with your take on Nina...definitely some mental illness and big-time stress going on. Interesting hub!

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 4 years ago from Texas Author

g-girl thanks for commenting and I agree with you. Black Swan became one of my all time favorites. Natalie Portman's portrayal was fabulous. Cheers to you.

Eric Prado profile image

Eric Prado 4 years ago from Webster, Texas

I absolutely agree with you. This film was very interesting. Brilliant, in my opinion and leaves the viewer asking questions about Nina. As a fellow dancer, I had to see Swan Lake and I thought that Black Swan followed(for the most part) a similar story line as the ballet of Swan Lake. There was a deep duality between good and evil that was extremely difficult for one person to portray and even more so for one person to dance and I thought that Natalie Portman was definitely deserving of the Oscar for her performance as Nina! Great hub. Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 4 years ago from Texas Author

I agree thanks primo and thanks for reading Cheers.

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