Black Swan (2010)
August 6, 2022 7:17 AM - Subscribe

Nina (Natalie Portman) is a ballerina whose passion for the dance rules every facet of her life. When the company's artistic director decides to replace his prima ballerina for their opening production of "Swan Lake," Nina is his first choice. She has competition in newcomer Lily (Mila Kunis) however. While Nina is perfect for the role of the White Swan, Lily personifies the Black Swan. As rivalry between the two dancers transforms into a twisted friendship, Nina's dark side begins to emerge.

Also starring Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder. Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

Rated 85% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Hulu and available for digital rental on multiple outlets.
posted by DirtyOldTown (8 comments total)
This is the odd prestige drama that is not, conventionally, a horror film, but is legitimately unsettling and yes, horrifying.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:20 PM on August 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

am I the only one who finds most Aronofsky films to be hot, exploitative garbage? I mean, don't get me wrong, they are fun. but trash. fun fun trash.

(no disrespect to the post DoT, you continue to knock it out of the park with these FF posts!)
posted by supermedusa at 11:16 AM on August 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think he is an exceptionally talented purveyor of trash. Like DePalma if he was more existentially depressed than horny. I don't love much of anything he makes but I nearly always respect it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:58 AM on August 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I seem to recall someone pointing out that this and The Wrestler are mirrored plots, only one is high art and one is "low-brow" entertainment. May have been Aronofsky himself.

If you can find it, there is a competently-made mash-up movie called Memories Alone that intercuts them.
posted by Molesome at 6:50 AM on August 9, 2022

am I the only one who finds most Aronofsky films to be hot, exploitative garbage? I mean, don't get me wrong, they are fun. but trash. fun fun trash.

Huh that's interesting because I would not use trashy or especially fun for his movies lol. But I get what you mean. I think I'd describe them as sadistic, or knife-twisting. I don't get the exploitative feeling from his movies; to me it feels like there's a step removed, it doesn't quite feel like creepy filmmaking to me like Lars von Trier.

Though I felt like Black Swan didn't really work that well like its heart wasn't in it. I guess I've only really liked The Wrestler. I haven't seen Noah or Mother! so maybe it gets worse.
posted by fleacircus at 9:36 PM on August 9, 2022

I think that Aronofsky can be particularly blunt and unforgiving in how he shows the ugliness of the lives that a lot of his characters experience. Requiem For a Dream gets harsher and harsher; Marion, in particular, has a rough time of it. Likewise, The Wrestler is pretty brutal in how it shows what happens to Randy and other wrestlers. This is kind of the opposite of any movie that could be described with the "-sploitation" tag.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:03 AM on August 11, 2022

I think Aronofsky views people with a lot of keen observation and intuitiveness, but with about the same level of regard as a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. That, to me, is a kind of exploitation.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:42 AM on August 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

I think for me there's a fine line between a cold brutality, which can be actually kind of religiously pure, and then you go a step too far and you enter the land of puppy-kicking. Aronofsky sort of goes back and forth across that line, I think. Maybe that's why Black Swan doesn't work for me while The Wrestler does: "religiously pure brutality" is a good pairing with a sort of grim 'low-culture' kind of striving and put-upon-ness -- that's an aesthetic match that works. But crossing the line into puppy-kicking and trying to cross that with something that is sort of 'high culture' (and it's not "sleazy art world" satire imho), that mixture doesn't work.
posted by fleacircus at 11:21 AM on August 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

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