My Real Review of Black Swan

in All Posts

I am so sick of staring at this:


However, while I was on the road, I had a chance to write My Real Review of Black Swan. I’ll admit it – I only gave you a short review of the movie on Sunday, and it deserves more.  Here is my analysis of Black Swan (don’t read it unless you’ve watched it – MAJOR SPOILERS)!


Let’s see… in addition to whipping out my 11th grade Advanced English Composition cap, I ate some healthy car good as we traveled from Florida to North Carolina.


Like: almond butter and jam sandwich with a pear.


A banana:


Got bored and played with the camera:

IMG_0026 IMG_0024 


Dipped in Trader Joe’s on the way back to the house:


And created an easy, fast dinner:


From Trader Joe’s: pre-made Indian rice with spicy chickpeas; from home:  defrosted roasted parsnips and potatoes (tasted as good as they did the night I made them!).


Now I’m munching on leftover Christmas chocolate


I’m sad that Christmas is over, but happy to be back in my house!  Hope you have a good night, too.


(Comments in THIS post have Black Swan spoilers in them, be careful!)



  • Loc (Blogger Boy Run) December 27, 2010, 8:43 pm

    Oh man, I absolutely love this movie! I haven’t been this excited for a movie from seeing a trailer alone in forever so I’m glad it lives up to my expectation. And to answer your analysis [SPOILER] I think Nina really did die at the end because her last words were I’m perfect, I was perfect. The whole span of the movie was her having a complete breakdown trying to be perfect for this role and the director at the beginning reinstated that the White swan only found true happiness when she killed herself. [SPOILER]

  • Camille December 27, 2010, 8:45 pm

    I really like your review! As a former film reviewer, I feel qualified to say that you write excellent reviews!
    My boyfriend and I both thought that the lesbian sex scene wasn’t as gratuitous as expected. I guess it just had so much hype built around it that we expected it to be highly erotic, when really it was all relevant to the plot and truly illustrated Nina’s mental breakdown.
    I do think that Nina stabbed herself. The way it was presented where everyone was cheering for her and Lily suddenly gets a look of complete shock on her face leads me to believe that there was something physically horrible happening to Nina beside being comatose.
    On ANOTHER note, I have recovered from an eating disorder, so I was a little worried going to see it because the media was saying how triggering it was. I definitely did have ED centered thoughts during the film, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it was triggering. If they really had portrayed Nina as being “perfect” then it might have been different, but instead they just showed her eating disorder as being yet another element adding to her imperfection.

    Okay, I am done rambling now!

    • Camille December 27, 2010, 8:47 pm

      Oh! On one more note: Did you hear that Natalie Portman announced today that she is engaged to and pregnant with the child of her Black Swan choreographer?
      It makes me extra happy for her 🙂

      • Caitlin December 27, 2010, 8:48 pm

        Yes! So lovely.

        • Baking 'n' Books December 27, 2010, 9:23 pm

          I heard that too but didn’t believe it! Wow. I wonder if it was expected for her? The next few months with baby and awards are going to be special for her!

      • kristin December 27, 2010, 11:32 pm

        he played the prince in the film, too!

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing December 27, 2010, 8:46 pm

    I’m definitely bookmarking the analysis so I can read it AFTER I see it!

    I need a trip to TJ’s very very soon. I always end up in WF because they have just about everything, but TJ’s has some awesome specialty items you can’t get anywhere else. Their frozen foods are the best!

  • Rachel @ Fit Fun and Fabulous December 27, 2010, 8:50 pm

    I love love loved the movie. But my mom was so grossed out that she actually got physically ill in the theater….vomit and everything.

    It was an intense movie, definitely.

    Overall I thought it was great acting, and I love movies where you can take different interpretations about the meanings of different scenes. I like movies that make you really think like that. Requiem for a Dream is also one of my favorite movies of all time, so I wasn’t surprised that I loved this movie as much as I did.

  • Kate @ Spoonful of Vigor December 27, 2010, 8:50 pm

    I’ve been wanting to see it but haven’t gotten the chance. As a soon-to-be psychologist, it’ll be interesting to see how her breakdown is depicted.

    Also, Jezebel did an interesting writeup about Portman’s “training” for the role:–about-discipline-or-something-else

  • Maggie December 27, 2010, 8:51 pm

    I’m so happy you wrote your review. I really enjoyed reading it! I saw Black Swan the first weekend it was out in NYC and I loved it. I actually had a discussion with my friends who I saw it with about how we wouldn’t want to see it with our families!

    I agree with most of your analysis, except about the end. I think she did die (or was gravely injured). I think she really did destroy her dressing room during her breakdown and injured herself in the process. I do agree that she didn’t get really drunk or do E at the club, but I do think she went to the club and had a few (or maybe just 1 considering it was probably her first time drinking) drinks since she was feeling something the next morning.

    And, about the lesbian sex scene, I’m not gay, haven’t had sex with a woman, or do I have a desire to, but Mila Kunis is pretty hot and I thought it was good :). Especially after the club scenes and Nina fighting with her mother, I liked the buildup. But I was also the first person I know who saw him so I didn’t hear any of the hype before.

    You should do more movie reviews!

  • Errign December 27, 2010, 8:53 pm

    I love your shoes! Where oh where did you get them?!

    • Errign December 27, 2010, 8:56 pm

      And I haven’t seen the movie, but I think Natalie is fabulous!

      • Caitlin December 27, 2010, 8:59 pm

        Nine West but a while ago!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine December 27, 2010, 8:53 pm

    Great review. I saw the movie with my dad, which was SO AWKWARD. I was covering my eyes for a lot of the last quarter. I have to say though, it wasn’t triggering at all to me…maybe because I was so horrified by her mental problems that I didn’t even give second thought to her body. But I think that Natalie did an AMAZING job in the role, and unfortunately, a certain kind of body is de rigeur in the ballet community. I thought it was well done, but I probably wouldn’t see it again- I barely slept that night!!

  • Madeleine @ Stepping to the Bright Side December 27, 2010, 8:54 pm

    i’m PRETTY sure the ending was real… i ADORED this movie- hmm, maybe “adored” isn’t the right word considering the dark subject matter but i will say this: as an actor, i completely connected with her problem. i’m definitely not as ocd/psychotic as Nina (i swear ;)), but her yearn to be perfect is something i think all artists can relate to. the problem is: it’s such an intangible feat to give an amazing performance! i thought it was a beautifully tragic story and will definitely be seeing it again once it’s on dvd. i don’t know if i could see it with my in laws though, that’s for sure. hahaha loved your review- you should do more of these, caitlin. if only there were more great movies released these days. at least it’s finally award season. i saw true grit last night- really great, i definitely see oscars in its future 🙂

    • Caitlin December 27, 2010, 8:59 pm

      Thanks! 🙂

  • Lacey @ Lake Life December 27, 2010, 9:01 pm

    Thanks for the spoiler warnings! I hope to see the movie so I don’t have a comment on your review yet 🙁

    I was wondering how Maggie does in the car. Is she anything like the Hyperbole & A Half portrayal of the “simple dog” in the car?

  • Rika December 27, 2010, 9:01 pm

    Black Swan was frightening and I thought I would never want to see it again (although it is good) but I have this urge to rewatch it several times to know what was real or imagined! [spoiler] I have to disagree with you and say that the cattiness backstage and fight over the role of Black Swan with Lily was imagined though! I think Nina knew she was leaving the WS and becoming the BS; yet, she was afraid to admit it because she is originally the pure and innocent WS so she became paranoid, doubted Lily and saw her as an enemy. I also say this because Lily was a “normal” nice person. She saw and knew that Nina was “different”(suppressed) and told her she needed to loosen up. I see Lily as a higher force, if you know what I mean. I guess I’m saying that Lily was mature enough to not do childish things to ruin Nina’s life as Nina thought she would. {/Spoiler] Gosh I’m so curious about the other scenarios! I may have to man up and watch it again!

    • Bronwyn Coyne December 28, 2010, 12:22 pm

      I agree with you, also because any time there was cattiness backstage Lily’s face would become Nina’s face. That happened in the lesbian sex scene too, when Lily went to smother Nina, it was the metaphorical “BS” in Nina. Also when she was arguing with Lily and stabs her, Lily’s face also became Nina’s face.

  • Emily December 27, 2010, 9:16 pm

    I think that she really did stab herself at the end.
    The storyline of the ballet is about twins (white swan and black swan). The white swan falls in love with a prince who is seduced by the black swan. As a result of the seduction, the white swan, in the ballet story, kills herself.
    If you think about the movie, it is the story of the ballet – white, pure, innocent girl is the lead role in the ballet seems to have a bit of a thing for the director (she gets dolled up to talk to him, kisses him back when he is seducing her, etc). The black swan of the movie, the evil twin, would be the ballerina who looks shockingly similar to Nina – Lily. And whether or not it is real or just a part of the psychotic breakdown, it is Lily who seduces the director and the actual male dancer who is playing the role of the prince. Nina (the white swan) cannot handle this and actually commits suicide by stabbing herself, not just committing suicide in the ballet.

  • Lee December 27, 2010, 9:17 pm

    I thought that Nina imagined the sex scene, but my friend pointed out that when she woke up the next morning, that pole thing that she used to lock the door was moved out of the doorstop, indicating that someone had left the room. Unless, Nina moved it.

    I kind of want to see it again, knowing what I know now.

    • Caitlin December 27, 2010, 9:18 pm


    • Rika December 28, 2010, 9:19 pm

      hmm I didn’t catch that! But I think I saw Nina’s hand *down there* on herself it makes me think that she was dreaming/fantasizing?

    • Jessica December 29, 2010, 5:22 pm

      I thought about that, but if the whole thing didn’t really happen with Lily, and if she didn’t have that run in with her mom, maybe she never put the pole down to lock the door?

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) December 27, 2010, 9:24 pm

    I must be the only person who thought Black Swan was overrated. It was just gratuitous sex (awkward to watch with mom!) and gore, plus I have no idea what actually happened besides watching this girl go crazy.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) December 27, 2010, 9:25 pm

    I am so with you…I am sad it is over, but glad to be home. I am glad you made it back safely and had a good Christmas. I love Aronofsky so I want to see that movie! Have you seen The Fountain? That is an incredible film by him.

    I can’t read your post or the comments yet…but hopefully I will see the movie soon, so I can read it. Have a great night Caitlin.

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 9:11 am

      I have not seen The Fountain but I hear it’s epic.

  • K Haugland December 27, 2010, 9:25 pm

    thought this was interesting – natalie portman is pregnant and now engaged to the guy who played the prince in the black swan

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations December 27, 2010, 9:25 pm

    I saw the movie today and really liked it. Yes, there was a lot of sex, but I liked the fact that despite all of it, there was no nudity. Sure, you don’t need nudity to convey the message, but it was nice to not have that added thing making it more awkward to watch.

  • Baking 'n' Books December 27, 2010, 9:25 pm

    Thanks for the review. I still don’t want to see it simply because it is still a disturbing movie to me – too real and raw I guess into the human mind! Yes, I hate acknowledging truth.

    How do you get the hidden pages? Neat. Ah – Christmas isn’t over yet – it makes me sad to hear everyone saying that! It’s still the “old” year. People rush the experience too much 🙂

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 9:10 am

      It’s a page, not a post. You can add them on the wordpress panel.

  • Brittney December 27, 2010, 9:32 pm

    I as well thought she actually died in the end. What I was most struck by was how she was able to become the BS in the end– how her performance was able to be so much different than when she practiced it. I realize that was the whole point, so it was more kudos to Natalie Portman for actually making the BS performance stand out so much from the WS on opening night.

  • nicole December 27, 2010, 9:32 pm

    I’m also a bit sad that Christmas is over, but it’s nice to be home!

  • Gabby (Quest for Delicious) December 27, 2010, 9:37 pm

    Ohh I like that trader joe’s indian rice! Kind of salty, but it’s balanced out by the raisins. (:

  • Laurie December 27, 2010, 9:37 pm

    My daughter asked me today if her excerpt (not her word) was going to be in my friend’s book. I said I didn’t know, but maybe. I said it’s not going to be out for a really long time, I think Summer 2012 (I think I read that somewhere). She said “why does it take so long? My class put out a book in a week, we wrote it and edited it and got it out to the whole class”. So there Ms. Caitlin….can’t you get it out in a week like the 4th graders?

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 9:10 am

      hahah tell her i’m working on it!

  • Jessica December 27, 2010, 9:45 pm

    Glad you had a good trip and got home safe. I haven’t seen Black Swan so I didn’t read your review but it’s on my list of movies to watch.

  • Kacy December 27, 2010, 10:03 pm

    I agree with your review, I just didn’t enjoy the movie. I thought the character development of Natalie’s character and the struggle with her pure/dark side was brilliant but without more character development of the other important roles I just couldn’t connect to it. I don’t know… I just needed more.

  • Amalfi Girl December 27, 2010, 10:07 pm

    I love that picture of you kissing your pooch!

  • Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul December 27, 2010, 10:19 pm

    Just saw the movie tonight and think your review was pretty spot-on. I enjoyed it a great deal and think that the idea behind it can apply to many of us (not just ballerinas!) in terms of the repressed parts of ourselves.

  • Krista (kristastes) December 27, 2010, 10:29 pm

    Loved your review! I enjoyed the movie…totally awkward sex scenes though. I am still wondering whether the end was real or part of Nina’s string of mental scenes. The world will never know! I think you should do a poll on the ending: real or imaginary 🙂

  • Pattie December 27, 2010, 10:35 pm

    I loved the movie, but found it incredibly disturbing (which is what I’ve been telling everyone). I think you wrote an excellent review!

    (SPOILERS! SPOILERS!) I felt the whole scene where she went out with Lilly was real, even taking the drugs. I think when she steps out of the bar is where the break with reality begins. Everything in the cab and until she wakes up is her drug/psychotic trip. I think the clue is the weird goose pimple type skin thing they showed us throughout the movie. Whenever you saw that it meant she wasn’t really all there. I also think Lilly’s threats to steal the role as swan queen were all in Nina’s head. I don’t think Lilly was that catty or ambitious. I also think that Nina did stab herself. Because it looks like Thomas sees her bleeding before he asks, “what did you do?”

    • Stephanie C December 28, 2010, 4:53 am

      I am kind of confused about people saying they didn’t think she didn’t do E at the club, because Natalie’s character specifically said to Mila’s character ‘You put something in my drink’ once she got to ‘the stage’ (stage-rehearsal) and she acknowledged it.
      So I agree with your last paragraph.
      Also in the scene with her mother, Lily is mouthing what Nina says.. another clue she isn’t really there. Sort of an extension.

      • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 9:09 am

        Oh really re: Lilly mouthing what Nina says!?!?! I need to see it again!!!

      • Pattie December 28, 2010, 8:55 pm

        a lot of what Lilly says to her (for real) leads me to believe she was trying to really be Nina’s friend, not at all trying to take the role from her. I think she was really trying to help her be what Thomas was wanting (a more relaxed dancer, who feels the music) possibly with his blessings even. But perhaps I’m reading way more subtext into it than I should. 😉

        • Stephanie C December 28, 2010, 10:47 pm

          I saw it that way, too. The only part that confused me was where Nina saw Thomas and Lily having sex. I couldn’t tell if that was a hallucination or not.

        • Jessica December 29, 2010, 5:29 pm

          I also thought that Thomas wanted Lilly to loosen Nina up, and that she was trying to be more like a friend – I thought most of the parts where Lilly seems to be going for Nina’s role were Nina’s hallucinations – she was paranoid about the black swan in her that were taking over.

    • H December 28, 2010, 8:47 pm

      I think the”goose pimply skin” is how they are illustrating that Nina is growing feathers (she actually pulls a black feather out of her skin at the end).

      • Pattie December 28, 2010, 8:52 pm

        yeah, she’s growing feathers/becoming the black swan/seeing what’s not really there or real. It happens often, just as she has a break from reality or while she’s having the break from reality.

    • Rika December 28, 2010, 9:27 pm

      hmm I as well tried to look for when her swan-like characteristics popped up but couldn’t really pin point it! But with your conclusion, does that mean that Nina’s fantastic dance as the BS was fake? Because, she becomes half swan as she dances!

      • Pattie December 28, 2010, 9:32 pm

        Oh… You’re right… I forgot that she DOES turn into the swan with the wings and all there at the end of the black swan dance. No, I don’t think that was fake at all, I think that was real. I think her dark side came out and took over. Maybe the goose pimple skin should be described more as her dark side coming out, rather than a signal of her break with reality. Because that would make more sense. Thanks for pointing that out, yeah we do see the goose pimples as she is dancing the black swan, and that is supposed to be real (I believe it is reality)

      • Caitlin December 29, 2010, 8:47 am

        I think the dance was real – she was an amazing dancer, after all!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 27, 2010, 10:58 pm

    I darted down to the end of the comments section and I’m not looking up because I’m afraid of some spoilers for the movie. I’m going to see it on Wednesday!

  • Laura Ann December 27, 2010, 11:02 pm

    i pretty much had the same day except mine was on the west coast. near the end of our drive, we also stopped at trader joe’s for a fast veggie-filled dinner. our grocery baskets could have been twins!

  • Laura December 27, 2010, 11:06 pm

    I think the breakdown was there from the beginning, it just progressed more rapidly and completely by the stress of the role, her Mom, etc. (when she first sees Lilly on the subway it’s like she was already imagining things, seeing herself in other people). She was already imagining blood that wasn’t there, etc. I think that’s part of why her Mom was trying so hard to control her, because she mentioned that various things were “happening again”, but I also think you’re right about the Mom being mentally ill as well (and my husband thinks the Mom might have molested her–the way she had to be in the bathroom with her, some of Nina’s behaviors, and when Nina says she’s not a virgin but it seems like she has little experience with men and her Mom wouldn’t leave her alone long enough to have a date).

    I thought it was interesting how her Mom controlled her, she thought if she micromanaged her every move she could make her “perfect”, and Nina learned the same poor coping strategy (sadly very realistic). I think some of the Lilly cattiness was real (Lilly did want the role, Lilly did tell the ballet director that Nina couldn’t cut it, etc.), but I think Nina was the one who wrote “whore” on the restroom mirror and that A LOT of things were imagined. And I definitely think she killed herself at the end–she was the swan, and her story mirrored that of parts she played.

  • Lauren December 27, 2010, 11:08 pm

    I liked the movie but it was so intense and seeing it on Christmas eve with my boyfriend’s grandparents was not the best idea 😛 I think she really did kill herself and I don’t think Lilly ever existed.

  • Ashley December 27, 2010, 11:18 pm

    Good to see an “actual” BS review! I’m also glad you guys made it back home safely! Seems like it was a short trip back home! How often do you get to go back?

  • Kristina @ life as kristina December 27, 2010, 11:32 pm

    I still have to go check out Black swan-everyones has mixed reviews!!! I need to just see it for myself-so I didn’t read the post (yet!). Love all the road trip pics. I’ve been craving indian food so you just spiked the craving-darn;)

  • kristin December 27, 2010, 11:41 pm

    I do have to say that I found the movie brought up a lot of emotions for me regarding my struggles with anorexia. I don’t think that Nina had an eating disorder in the film, though I can see how that can easily be debated. I still look at bodies like that and think it looks totally fine, so it was difficult for me at times during the film not to focus on that.

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 9:08 am

      I definitely think Nina has an ED – she refused the cake and puke multiple times in the toilet! Also, a friend pointed out that she doesn’t touch her dinner while Lilly (the bad girl) eats a burger. Ha! I think that’s why ED people are so up in arms.

      • kristin December 28, 2010, 12:13 pm

        yeah, I can definitely see that argument. I kind of saw the throwing up as an anxiety thing- I felt like she only threw up after times of really high emotions and the throwing up allowed her to release some of those feelings. And when it came to the cake and dinner with Lily, it seemed to me behaviors more in line of what I would expect from a serious ballerina- they probably aren’t eating a lot of cake or burgers- and not fully due to ED thoughts/behaviors. Although many people seem to argue that many ballerinas do have eating disorders! I guess that overall I felt like if she did have an ED it was inconsequential to the film.

        • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 12:54 pm

          Yes it’s definitely not that important to the film, I agree! Totally overhyped.

    • gabriella @ embracement January 9, 2011, 9:15 pm

      We studied ballet and many other sports in my Psych of Eating Disorders class this past semester. There is a line thats drawn between “state” and “trait” eating disorders. State being those behaviors that come out only when in the sport (i.e wrestlers will engage in anorexia and bulimia during the session to make weight, same with crew, and figure skating)…whereas “trait” are those people who develop the eating disorder outside of their sport, or were never involved in a sport.

      Essentially saying that wrestlers, for example, can be engaged in eating disordered behaviors during the on session but have no other symptoms of guilt, OCD, impulsive behaviors, yearn for perfection etc. There’s a disconnect and their behavior is a means to an end and when the season is over they no longer engage in that behavior.

      I definitely think she suffered from an eating disorder because of the anxiety she was experiencing and yearn for perfection which are two comoridibites that go along with eating disorders. Ballet being a life consuming art definitely would blur the lines that others, such as a wrester, might experience….in case you were interested 🙂

  • Shelly December 27, 2010, 11:46 pm

    I saw Black Swan today! I was very confused and disturbed but it was quite good. I do think, though, that Nina did party with Lily and that she died in the end. When the teacher is talking to Nina, Lily gasps and looks towards Nina’s stomach. Also, I think something was off with the mom…

  • steph December 27, 2010, 11:58 pm

    ahahah maggie is like what is the human doing ???

  • Shanna, like Banana December 27, 2010, 11:59 pm

    Literally just got back from BS a few hours ago. I thought it was fantastic. So well done. Incredible acting. Amazing how well Natalie Portman represented good and evil. I think each scene was incredibly purposeful. I left feel disturbed but I think that’s what the director intended. As for the thinsperation, I think that is just a fact of ballet. And while NP looked very thin, I don’t feel this was out of the ordinary. Healthy? No. But sadly all to real.

    Nice summary!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) December 28, 2010, 12:29 am

    Ah I want to see that movie!

  • laurrrren December 28, 2010, 1:19 am

    I’ve seen this movie twice already, I think I have a slight obsession. And I have a lot of feeling about this movie. It’s definitely one that you want to see on the big screen. I believe Nina really died at the end since it’s basically a story within a story, and in the play the white swan dies, so therefore Nina dies too. My favorite website for homogay culture did a brilliant critique on the film, you should definitely check it out:

    It’s very literary. And critiqueful. And awesomeness.

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 9:06 am

      Thanks for passing this along!

  • Maura December 28, 2010, 1:20 am

    I literally just got home from Black Swan, and I have nothing truly intelligent to say other than…holy mother of mercy. I don’t think I’ve digested it yet.

  • Molly @fuelherup December 28, 2010, 1:57 am

    I did disagree a tiiiiny bit with your real / notreal comparison, which I think is part of the movie. I think she did die at the end. I also am pretty sure that she DID go out with Lily the night before (Lily kind of confirms it) but Lily didn’t come home with her.

    One thing I was confused about was I thought she had stabbed the hit-by-a-car ballerina- I’m told that was part of a hallucination.

    I just got back from seeing it so I’m still digesting. GREAT movie, but it would be SO awkward to see with family.

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 9:05 am

      I think stabbing beth is suppoosed to be really questionable! I have no idea if it was real.

      • H December 28, 2010, 8:39 pm

        I don’t think the stabbing is supposed to be real. She is seeing her inner black swan in Beth, Lily, etc

  • carlee December 28, 2010, 1:57 am

    mmm…dinner looks pretty fancy as so does the ab and j sandich!
    I feel funny saying this but pears make my poop so weird and make my stomach hurt like crazy! they do with my sister and best friend as well.
    is that weird?
    I’m thinking its bc they are so coarse and stuff!

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 9:04 am

      hahaha maybe you are allergic! that’s not normal 🙂

  • Paige @Running Around Normal December 28, 2010, 8:29 am

    Glad you’re back home! I want to see Black Swan but I think I’ll wait to rent it – so I’ll come back and read your review then 😉 Though I love Natalie Portman!!

  • Caroline December 28, 2010, 12:11 pm

    I definitely think she really killed herself at the end. I also loved the movie and would have loved to seen a little more background info on the mom and Nina too…to see a little more of how they are so crazy!? The movie still has me thinking about it and I saw it almost a week ago! I hope Natalie Portman wins an Oscar for her part!

  • susan (stepping off the coaster) December 28, 2010, 12:59 pm

    great review! and i’m actually happy to see so many people saying they loved the film. i felt weird telling everyone i thought it was amazing b/c it was so disturbing! haha
    i read a bad review of the movie that i completely disagreed with. it basically said natalie portman’s character had no depth and was crazy, but nothing else. it said no one would believe that her character would continue to dance b/c she didn’t seem to like it. i couldn’t disagree more!!
    i think people who have never been a competitive athlete could totally miss huge points in this movie. you do love the sport, even though you are pushing yourself so hard it can feel miserable. you can get obsessed and walk the line of being perfect or completely mad! often times parents are pushing you to be what they never were, etc.
    obviously aranofsky takes this to the extreme… but brilliantly!!!

  • Amber K December 28, 2010, 1:05 pm

    I don’t have a desire to see it (read it wasn’t for the faint of heart!) so I was glad to read a full review. Sounds like it is definitely not something to watch with parents or in-laws!

  • ashley December 28, 2010, 1:23 pm

    yay! I LOVE natalie portman and her vegan self! and her vegan shoes (hate the company that made them went under when the economy collapsed-the shoes were really great)! she is an AMAZING actress. she’s never been a flop in anything. her performances are always always right on the mark. if you haven’t seen Closer with her, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, etc–you SHOULD! it mainly takes place in london, is the movie natalie was nominated for an academy award, etc, etc. you and your brit husband would like it. and i think she DOES die at the end. they give a lot of little hints that it’s real–the main one for me being the director says to call an ambulance. they would have edited that out had she not been really dead–i mean that dialogue just doesn’t fit if she’s still alive. she killed herself for that performance-literally and figuratively. also, she really trained hard to learn some of those difficult ballet moves. the biggest thing helping her before she landed the role was that she’s really into yoga. speaking of which, i think that HAS to help bring you out of your exercise rut. yoga is THE smartest exercise–most cardio exercise are repetitive motion things working and not working the same muscle groups each time leading to MUSCLE IMBALANCES leading to INJURIES. that’s really what you’re supposed injuries stem from. you don’t do enough of the OTHER stuff. did you know the first day i was in northern california-i went to a Bikram yoga class and who was there but the ultra marathon man himself-dean karnazes? also, going with the black swan theme, Pilates is another very very smart exercise. every SINGLE ballet dancer that goes anywhere with it does PIlates–and dancers are some people who use their bodies more than anyone. i dare you to find one person at cirque du soleil who does not do both yoga and Pilates DAILY. if you learn Pilates, you need to go as close to the source as possible -you can’t find people trained by J. Pilates himself but you still can find people trained by his protege Romana. if you learn fake Pilates it’s a waste. most instructors will tell you to engage your core but a lot don’t tell you to zip up your legs or externally rotate your hips during some of the exercises. anyways–you heard it here. if you want to preserve your body and exercise into old age–you need to learn yoga and/or Pilates in a big way today.

  • Mary Allison December 28, 2010, 1:23 pm

    See. I thought the hallucination began after the director kissed her–when he told her Veronica got the part and never ended.

    Her back was SICK! She was so thin she looked like a litte malnurished birdy. She also made a creepy face, like she was going potty.

    • Caitlin December 28, 2010, 2:08 pm

      Oooo interesting theory.

  • Jaclyn December 28, 2010, 1:58 pm

    Great review – what a crazy and complex movie that was!!
    I really liked it, but now I feel like I need to see it again – so complex.. too much to interpret and figure out just once!!

  • Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) December 28, 2010, 2:21 pm

    Oooh I really want to see Black Swan! I skipped all the spoilers in your analysis! 😛 It sounds a bit crazy, but I still want to see it! Can’t wait till it comes out here in the UK! 😀

  • Amy December 28, 2010, 9:36 pm

    I haven’t seen it (and am not going to) but I read your review and NOW I know why everyone’s been telling me they can’t get it out of their head. wow.

  • Stacy Gregory December 29, 2010, 12:34 am

    I think the”goose pimply skin” is how they are illustrating that Nina is growing feathers (she actually pulls a black feather out of her skin at the end).

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 29, 2010, 12:40 am

    I just got back from the movie. It was good, but nothing like what I expected. It was a stressful movie to watch!!! Loved the complexities – great review!

    I think she did stab herself at the end… though maybe it was over-dramatized. With the scratching, she clearly had a problem with hurting herself.

  • Jessica December 29, 2010, 5:47 pm

    I love your review of this film! And even more, I love the conversation it started in your comments. This is the kind of movie you want to talk about after watching!

    One of the discussions I had with the group I went to see BS with was whether or not the sex was gratuitious. Although I can see why some people think it was, I was really struck by the fact that there was no nudity, which made it seem less over the top to me. I also thought that it was important that they showed some of what they did, because I thought that Nina discovering her sexuality was a big part of her becoming the black swan.

    I also thought your suggestion that Nina’s mom had a mental illness was interesting. I hadn’t thought about it before, but looking back, it makes sense. It did seem like she was living through her daughter, but maybe that was because she never had the “perfect” performance that she alwyas wanted, so she drove that desire into Nina.

  • giordin December 30, 2010, 1:12 pm

    I loved this movie and all the buzz it generated. I can’t stop thinking about it!

    I just stumbled upon a wikipedia page on “black swan theory” and thought it was kinda interesting and maybe kinda applicable to the movie, so I wanted to comment on this for anyone interested more movie analysis. Part of the wikipedia on Black Swan Theory says:

    “What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes. First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.”

  • lou December 31, 2010, 1:08 am

    Looking back at the movie, would you say there’s a spiritual side to it or is it purely psychological? Meaning she was haunted by and eventually overcome by the dark spirit of the black swan. I’m relating this to seeing shamans using dance to intentionally come in contact with the spirit world. Also I’ve known modern and ballet dancers who personally told me about feeling a force (a good force) almost possess them while performing certain solo’s. One performer in particular told me she was moved to tears after such an experience and described it as “beautiful”. Please share your opinion, maybe I could be reading into it too much.

  • Paige January 8, 2011, 12:04 am

    I just have to say that I got a manicure today, and as the uh…nail…artist (?) was clipping my nails, ALL I could think of was the creepy mom in Black Swan clipping her daughter’s fingernails and accidentally cutting her. I was cringing the entire time!

    • Caitlin January 8, 2011, 8:39 am


  • Amy January 8, 2011, 10:48 am

    I’m assuming Nina stabbed Beth in the hospital….? Obviously it showed Beth doing it…but when Nina left she was holding the bloody nail file.. hmmm. intense movie!

    • gabriella @ embracement January 9, 2011, 9:03 pm

      I’m not sure if she stabbed her, I think that might have been another hallucination and in reality she was harmer herself with the nail file. I think there would have been more talk about Beth being stabbed had it happened.

  • lindsay January 8, 2011, 5:55 pm

    I am still totally freaked out by the movie. I definitely didn’t think that the sex was a big deal at all. People made it sounds like the film was full of lesbian sex and it was just one short scene! I guess I thought the sex was NOTHING compared to the other craziness that was going on in the film! Definitely deserves an Oscar…

  • Emily January 8, 2011, 11:29 pm

    Nice review! Black Swan is my newest favorite movie, and just wrote a review on my website as well. Check it out!

  • gabriella @ embracement January 9, 2011, 9:02 pm

    I just saw the movie with my mom. Yup, definitely awkward at parts. However, my mom was a dancer for 15 years and suffered an ED, so she said the body type portrayal and drive for perfection is absolutely what it’s like. I thought that the end was definitely real, that she had a breakdown in the dressing room and was injured in the process. Whether she died or not I think is left up to the viewer, but I believe she did knowing that she finally had that “perfect” dance that she had been yearning for. I also think a lot of the blood symbolized her becoming a women from her repressed state in her home life, her “good girl” persona, and avoidance of letting herself go in the dance. The movie can be analyzed on SO many levels, but overall it was very, very well done (I especially liked the ending when she really envisioned herself as the swan and then you get the audience’s view), and Natalie NEEDS an award. What a physically and emotionally grueling part that she pulled off flawlessly!

  • gabriella @ embracement January 9, 2011, 9:08 pm

    I think part of the mom’s craziness is that she lost her dancing career after becoming pregnant with Nina. That’s what I think she was saying when she told Nina not to make the same mistake she had with her director and Nina says “thanks’. Lead me to believe Nina was in fact a “mistake” and her mother wants her to be everything she wasn’t. At the same time she yearns for her to have a normal life. I do wish her role was explored more because toward the end, I believe that she was trying to save Nina from her mental diseases (although I don’t think locking her in her room was the way to do it…).

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair January 17, 2011, 12:26 am

    I literally JUST got home from this movie and went and read your analysis! I had been avoiding reading it till I saw the movie.

    Really well-written, Caitlin – you made a lot of the movie make much more sense for me. Though I’m still kind of reeling from the whole thing. It was not what I was expecting at all!

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