We are all swans–both white and black.

The Swan Lake according to tales, tells the story of a woman who is cursed to be a white swan. In order for her to come back from that curse, she has to genuinely fall in love with a man. But a black swan enters the scene, and seduces the man. The white swan, felt turn down and betrayed, ends her life.

The Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky is a story of a virginal girl named Nina (Natalie Portman) who is a ballet dancer in New York. When Thomas Leroy, the artistic director of the ballet company, decided to dump his “prime dancer” Beth (Winona Ryder) for a younger, fresh face to grace the new production of The Swan Lake, Nina tried her best to get the role. And she did.

But Thomas is dubious of her character while she pirouettes during rehearsal—Nina is innocent looking and perfect for the White Swan role. But he is not convince of her how she will do the Black Swan role, the opposite dark role that she also needs to imbibe as part of the whole production.

I don’t know if it is all the scheming tactics of Thomas, but it is a suspect. Enter the new competitor to the role–Lily. Lily personifies the dark sensual character of a black swan.

Nina and Lily became friends, and it gets ugly. Rivalry, sexual relationship with the director, and like makes Nina twisted. In fact, it incites her dark side which has been brewing inside her for a long time because her mother is also a strict, rigid guardian at home.

All of these burdensome reasons make Nina turned into an ugly black feathery creature, the very same character that she needs to portray in her lead role at the ballet production.

Natalie Portman gives an excellent portrayal of a constricted, virginal Nina. I don’t know about you but her “touch your self” scene will be a YouTube hit any time soon.

Like the story of The Swan Lake, Nina’s became her role. But those imaginary bleeding and imaginary fight with Lily is not psychological. The director only presents the duality of the human character—that we all have good and bad side.

Whatever the case maybe, the image that we project resides on our own choice. Our own only.

 

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