Got mixed reviews from the critics this one, and I can see why. Natalie Portman’s performance was great and the shaky first-person/documentary camera-technique worked, but the ending of the plot was a bit trite. No twist at all. In fact, the ‘message’ of the ending was worse than trite: it was extremely dubious, particularly because of the themes of abuse and self-harm.
What’s the plot about? Well, it’s about a virginal, ambitious, perfectionist ballet dancer who finally gets the part of the Swan Queen in Swan Lake. The male director of the performance immediately tells her she’s inadequate and that she needs to get in touch with her dark (and sexual) side if she’s to give a ‘perfect’ performance. The dancer is also exploited by her mother, who is living vicariously through her daughter and is predictably pushy to the point of obsession.
The story is well told – and a convincing mix of politics, in-fighting and paranoia. It’s a visceral and compelling film – not at all ‘arty’ really. Just a shame about the ‘ending’. So, a mixed 7/10 from me.