Are you a parent?
Do you love your daughter? Then do not ever take her to see this movie. Ever.
For the record, it may be the holidays. True, they release ballet films during the holidays, but "Black Swan" is no "dance movie." Frankly, it's not even a very good thriller.
It's a movie about Natalie Portman pretending to dance while looking worried and scared and flapping her arms around while she picks at her skin and toenails until they bleed. And then she picks at her skin so much that you want to run screaming from the theater because it's so creepy and gross that you can barely sit there and take it any longer.
Lots of close ups of snipping at skin with nail clippers and scissors. Lots of long shots of Portman pulling off her hangnails until the skin is stripped up and off the fingers while she winces and bleeds into the sink.
-- Merry Christmas! Here's your dance movie!
Honestly, I wanted to like Portman, but she has two expressions for the whole film: Worried and Very Worried.
This isn't so much a film about making art, as it is about art making you crazy. Self-hatred and cutting-crazy. Jealousy and self-injury crazy, and all sorts of sick and crazy things that I never want my kid to see even if it is cloaked in good-old fashioned Hollywood-style "fun."
Black Swan is more like "Carrie" meets "The Turning Point."
I have to tell you, I was so disappointed. It's the holidays: I wanted at least some real dancing, not a movie staring actors at Lincoln Center pretending to dance while casually vomiting into toilets then pulling the skin off their fingers. Come on!
Give me "White Nights," ANY day.
Oh, and here's how I sounded like during the movie:
"Oh, my God, NO!"
"Jesus, THAT'S DISGUSTING!"
And "What? Is there any real dancing in this thing?"
I'm telling you, to think I almost considered taking my daughter to see this?! No way.
It was more like "Orphan" in toe shoes: All bloody and crazy in a tu-tu.
I have a very "type A" kid, and I have to tell you, THIS film would entirely freak her out.
I do not suggest anyone send a teen girl to see this and I'm not even referring to the lesbian sex at all, hardly. No, I am talking about all the pressures in the character's life which caused her to be bulimic and self mutilating. The bulimia part even seemed like an afterthought. I hated the messages in this. Or that somehow the Portman character being a virgin was somehow going to rob her of her ability to create art. I don't buy that. (But, I'm a mom and so this is my story and I am standing by it.)
Did I mention all the dancers are mean, backstabbing females who smoke cigarettes and call each other "whores?" Nice role models for girls.
Or that apparently principal lead dancers are required to immediately be sexually harassed by the artistic director? Yep. All in a day's work, apparently.
The best moment was when the "Prince" dropped the Swan Queen and says "WTF?"
Second best: When Portman is "dutifully doing her homework" until she realizes that mom's actually right there in the room.
Best actors: The director (who actually was pretty darn sexy) and the scary-as-hell Barbara Hershey.
Best part of the movie? The part where the black feathers poke out her skin and she flaps so hard she gets a standing ovation.
Thumbs down for not casting real dancers in the parts requiring dancing so that we could really understand the challenges of how hard the part really would be to pull off, and it would be.
And for the plot not being really thrilling, but relying more on bloody gore and confusing camera angles.
I repeat, give me "White Nights" any day.