I know, you’re shocked. Everyone loves Black Swan, you say. Okay, let’s break it down.
I’m going to get past my own aversion and review the movie in three ways: in mechanics, in acting, and in my own reaction to the story.
Mechanics. Yes, this was a beautifully made movie. The camera swum all over, making the audience feel part of the dance. Also, it is common knowledge that the actors worked very hard to be able to dance like professional ballerinas–Natalie Portman trained every day for a year.
Acting. Sure, the acting was superb. But I think it was Michael Caine who said that if someone watches one of his movies and says, wow, that Michael Caine sure is a good actor, he hasn’t done his job well. Sadly, I have to say that as I watched, I was thinking, wow, that Natalie Portman sure can act. I can see every single emotion pass over her face. But I never forgot that she was acting. Mila Kunis was wonderful, I never once thought about her as Meg from Family Guy.
My own reaction was to become impatient with the main character, not to empathize with her. That reaction took any enjoyment from me. When I saw Darren Aronofsky‘s previous film, The Wrestler, I was completely caught up in the story. I forgot I was in a theater; I was there in the story, like I didn’t even exist.
Maybe I shouldn’t compare the two movies, but I can’t help it. I had very high expectations. They weren’t disappointed exactly, they were just deflated. The details were absolutely right, but the heart wasn’t complete.