January means the start of hard campaigning for Oscars! There is so much buzz flying about one might get knocked out by it in confusion. Two petite actresses have been noted for their performances, Natalie Portman (yeah Long Island) and Michelle Williams (yeah Brooklyn!). Let’s see why our movie experience has turned Black and Blue (oh yes, I went there.)
BLACK- Portman’s character Nina Sayers “just wants to be perfect” no matter what that means. She is a cutter and beulemic, but most of all she is a ballerina.
BLUE: William’s character, Cindy is a loose girl with a high IQ. She grew up in a household of a bad marriage and then gets knocked up by a guy she semi-loathes only to marry the next guy who comes along despite his lack of a high school degree.
Winner: Black Swan. Nina Sayer takes it to an extreme whereas Cindy takes it to a cheap sex motel where she abandons her husband.
BLACK: Lust is a running theme as everyone knows that the lead choreographer, Thomas Leroy (played by Vincent Cassel) likes to sleep with his leading ladies. Nina Sayers also must inhibit the qualities of letting go in order to become the “black swan” dark, alluring and capable of seduction. She takes a dip in the “lady pond” (as Bravo host/SVP of Programming Andy Cohen likes to say.)
BLUE: Rough, sometimes just plain dirty and mean is how Cindy gets it on with her various suitors. She is leading her life as a black swan only to wind up using sex as a weapon. Cindy certainly likes to get naked as often as possible.
Winner: Black Swan. Although there isn’t full on nudity (which got it rated NC-17), the tension and the implications are far more boundary breaking especially when you are not sure what is real and what Nina Sayers is imagining.
BLACK: Natalie Portman started training a year prior to the role. She then upped it to five hours a day and swimming, adding choreography two months before for eight hour days. She lost 20 lbs off her already dimmunitive figure.
BLUE: The film has garnered a lot of press because it was a labor of love that was filmed over the course of six years. Williams and Gosling even lived together as a couple for a month to find out what pushed each other’s buttons.
Winner: Black Swan. Hello, living with Ryan Gosling for a month doesn’t sound like too bad a deal.
BLACK: Director Darren Aronofsky is a master of mixing reality and fantasy until they blend seemlessly into one another. Did that scene just happen or is it just through the character’s filter?
BLUE: Avant guarde director Derek Cianfrance has created an uphappy portrait where you know the climax is this couple ending their relationship. The twists are hardly original despite the critcal acclaim. This one makes you want to never get into a relationship.
Winner: Black Swan again.
Overall, while neither of these films leaves the audience with a happy feeling, Black Swan takes us on an intense, exciting journey into the world of ballet. The sold out showing of Blue Valentine I went to at the Angelika Film Center had people leaving throughout just to get away from it. That’s right, hipster central was not enjoying it. Questions after the film included “he (Gosling’s character) didn’t even do anything that was so bad. That manipulation at the end and the co-worker saying he brainwashes her came out of nowhere.”
OVERALL WINNER: BLACK SWAN.