Black Swan: A Disorienting, Convoluted Whirlwind of Identity, Sexuality, and Psychological Stability
“We all know the story. Virginal girl, pure and sweet, trapped in the body of a swan. She desires freedom but only true love can break the spell. Her wish is nearly granted in the form of a prince, but before he can declare his love her lustful twin, the black swan, tricks and seduces him. Devastated the white swan leaps off of a cliff, killing herself, and, in death, finds freedom” (Black Swan). Black Swan is a 2010 film directed by Darren Aronofsky that tells the story of Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a highly driven ballerina. Nina has been with her dance company for many years; and yet she has never managed to be anything more than a corps dancer. Nina is a twenty-something, painfully shy young woman who is living in a cramped apartment with her mother, a former ballerina.
Nina finally gets the chance to prove herself and move up in the company when Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), the company director, announces that principal dancer Beth (Winona Rider) will be stepping down from her position, and that a new principal is needed for the upcoming season. Filling Beth's position will be no easy under-taking, as she has been principal dancer for ten years. Even harder still is Thomas' proclamation that Swan Lake will be the first production of the season, and one dancer will play both the Swan Queen and Black Swan characters. Dancing the role of Swan Queen has been a dream of Nina's since she was a little girl. Luckily, Nina is one of the few dancers Thomas deems worthy of auditioning for the role.
A stunning dancer, Nina's audition is going magnificently until the interrupting entrance of fellow auditionee Lily (Mila Kunis) causes her to falter. Thomas does not allow for Nina to continue with her routine, saying that if she were only auditioning for the Swan Queen, the role would be hers; however, he is not convinced that the pure, innocent Nina is capable...
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