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Yeah, but instead of the publicity for the film being "thriller set in the world of ballet" it tends to imply that the film is an expose of ballet. And that I object to.

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it tends to imply that the film is an expose of ballet. And that I object to.

That certainly does seem to be a thread in many of the discussions/interviews that we've seen thus far (especially the comments about the insular nature of the art form)

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it sure looks like the latest offering in a genre I’ve grown to loathe (but just can’t seem to resist anyway): lurid, overwrought “wages of art” flicks

Indeed. What I'd like to see now is a compare/contrast review of "Black Swan" and "Burlesque."

My husband and I joke about doing a 3-D horror remake of “Shine” in which David Helfgott’s father, lit by lightening flashes, repeatedly thrusts the score of a piano concerto towards the camera lens while shouting “Rachmaninoff! Rachmaninoff!”

Oh ouch!

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I saw Black Swan yesterday, and the best way I can describe it is to say that I found it very creepy. The dancing seemed okay, but the story was just so weird and implausible. It was very hard to figure out what was real and what was in Nina's mind (which I think was one of the points of the movie). I think it's already been said but I think a much better movie could have been made out of Nina's back story. And why was she so disturbed from the very beginning of the movie? Actually, a very interesting movie could have made out of Nina's mother's story. Again, the audience didn't know what was real about the mother and what was in Nina's mind. In the future, if I want to see ballet movies, I think I'll stick to The Turning Point and The Red Shoes.

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Wendy Whelan weighs in on Black Swan. Now whose perfume do you suppose it was she stole?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-12-04/black-swan-movie-ballerina-wendy-whelan-reviews/full/

Miss Whelan makes the most sense of any reviews or comments I have read about this film. A mind boggling assessment, she superbly validates the physical and mental strain of a dancer.

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I just saw this today and agree with Colleen - creepy is exactly how I'd describe it. Not really scary, not much of a psychological thriller, but claustrophobic and creepy. I do think that the line between what was supposed to be real and what was in Nina's mind was intentionally blurred. We were seeing everything from her perspective and she was one sick chick. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.

On a positive note - the theater was packed, enthusiastic and mostly under 30. I heard a couple of people saying that they'd never been to an actual ballet so maybe this will drum up some business. Especially here in NY where ABT & NYCB are both doing Swan Lake in 2011.

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Wendy Whelan weighs in on Black Swan. Now whose perfume do you suppose it was she stole?

http://www.thedailyb...n-reviews/full/

Lucky for the prima not all the young dancers chose to show their, uh, admiration that way or she'd have been blowing a lot of dough on perfume.

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The award nominations for Black Swan keep pouring in. Two days ago it was the Golden Globes (Best Drama Film, Best Direcotr, Best Actress and Supp Actress). The previous week it was the unprecedented twelve (12) nominations for Critics Choice Awards! Now it's the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards, with Black Swan getting 3 nominations - Portman for Best Actress, Kunis for Best Supporting Actress and the entire cast for Best Cast. Wow - I guess that also includes Sarah Lane, Benjamin Millepied and all the other true ballet artists. Yahoo!

I am hoping that finally there will be a ballet-themed film that will garner more than one (1) Oscar. Will it top Red Shoes' lone award in 1948/49? Turning Point in '77/78 could have done it with its 11 Oscar nominations...but inexplicably got zero statuettes. Let's see how Black Swan fares. And there has to be some ballet in a production number somewhere in the ceremony! (Remember all the talk about Rasta Thomas as the Oscars 10+ years ago? And Vishneva 16 yrs ago?)

p.s. Black Swan has already won the American Film Institute Award as one of 10 best films of 2010 (given to 10 films each year), as well as both the LA and NY Film Critic Awards for Best Cinematography. So it's not just a 'Freaky Golden Globes Thing'!

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I've just discovered that Natalie Portman has won Best Actress for The Black Swan five times since awards season began two weeks ago! She has won the most times so far in the Best Actress category. The cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, has also consistently been winning. (So maybe we can count on at least two Oscars in February, to top Red Shoes' record of one?) The director, Aronofsky, and "supporting actress," Mila Kunis, have also been winning, but not as consistently as Portman and Libatique.

The following weblink tracks Black Swan's nominations and awards...and I'm amazed to see that so many events exist:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_accolades_received_by_Black_Swan

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I hear it's also up for the Beijing Film Festival's coveted Crying Monkey Award.

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I hear it's also up for the Beijing Film Festival's coveted Crying Monkey Award.

Did The Red Shoes also win that one?

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I just saw it tonight, with a guy whose taste in movies range from Saw I to Saw VI. :wallbash:

I just gotta say, yes at parts it's cheesy, and at parts it's creepy, but it makes for a great date movie. :clapping:

And :clapping: to Natalie Portman for creating a convincing CHARACTER onstage. I think it you go to the movie expecting a great ballet movie along the lines of Red Shoes you'll be disappointed. But if you go just for entertainment than the movie is a lot of fun.

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We're just back from seeing this movie. First I must confess I missed much of the dialogue and often do in movies and TV because my hearing is not what it used to be. However, I don't think missing some of the dialogue matter much in my appreciation of this film.

I did not like it at all despite some aspects which were notable. Natalie Portman's face filled the screen for most of the movie and she was able to pull off all those painful expressions like a champ. She's not much of a dancer and you can immediately see the difference where a trained ballerina is on screen. I don't think the public will notice or care.

I don't care for violence and blood and this had way too much. I don't like the idea that film directors and screen writers use so much blood and violence in their work. Yeah it may be part of some people's world, but it's not part of mine and something I avoid at all cost.

That isn't to say that feeling pain and anguish can't be portrayed without the perverse used of violent imagery... even if they are "fantasy"... which I suppose they were until the end.

I don't know the world of ballet... and seeing this does not give me a feel of what I would imagine is the camaraderie among dancers. My impression from this movie is that dancers are loners, self absorbed, jealous, catty have the emotional maturity of tweens. I was struck by Nina's bedroom and even how her stage mother "infantialized" her daughter who presumably was supposed to be a mature artist. Yeah yeah... she stuffed her stuffed animals in the rubbish chute in a cheap metaphor for her "growing up".

And heck, I was correct that this director piled stereotype on top of stereotype to construct his story. Tell me what wasn't a tired over used sterotype... the guys in the bar? the club scene? the speech announcing Beth's final performance and Nina's as the new lead in Swan Lake. And why must every director use "sex" as a metaphor for self expression and breaking free? And how about that Lilly character... for a character made up of sterotypes right to the huge tattoo of wings on her back, drugs in her cigarette case and she's from SF too!.

Some very good acting, mostly bad dancing, creepy vulgar story, gratuitous gore and violence...and a story that does nothing to portray the true aesthetics of ballet which were completely trivialized. Oh right it's not about ballet, but about demons which haunt any young virgin out there.

Don't waste your time and money on this movie. Three thumbs down!

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After your vivid, detailed description, SanderO, I don't have to see it to see what it's like.

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Don't waste your time and money on this movie. Three thumbs down!

I saw it too and agree

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I haven't seen "Black Swan" yet, but I can't wait to do so.

As an aside.....the best movie I saw in 2010 was the 2008 movie "Julia" starring Tilda Swinton (who is my current most admired actress, altho it's difficult for me to place Helen Mirren in any position but first). I call it the best for many reasons, but mostly for Swinton's remarkable and brave performance. Not that I couldn't write a review of the movie that points out the prostitution, child abuse, drug usage, blood and murder, and overall moral dipravity in the movie, and dismiss the movie as gratuitous, but I'd be making a mistake if I did that. It's not like those nasty things don't exist somewhere in the world; it's not like those things shouldn't be looked at; but true, looking at them is likely to make some people uncomfortable (I can't imagine how uncomfortable Swinton must have felt as she "became" her character in this movie.....which is the main reason I use the word "brave" to describe her performance).

I've always felt that my aversion to hunting, where I shutter to think of a gorgeous elk being dropped in a mountain meadow, to be hypocritical no matter how strongly felt. Everytime I buy a pound cleanly wrapped hamburger beef at the sanitized and pleasant local super market, doesn't mean that the cow involved wasn't hit over the head by a sledge hammer at the slaughter house. Reality exists whether I see it or not. What should I do?......Blame the slaughter house?

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I also will not be seeing this movie, but for reasons other than those described, although they would all be reasons enough for me, too. I made up my mind a year ago that I would not support it with my presence in the audience or interest. If you can remember what the gossip columns were writing about starting at Christmastime last year and really exploding in January, then that is the reason I am boycotting the movie. This film epitomizes betrayal both in thematic content and in real life.

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Great review, SanderO. Thanks especially for all those details that a number of other more positive reviewers seemed to have left out.

For another negative take, here's Stuart Klawans in The Nation (Dec. 20).

On to poor, childlike Natalie Portman as the little dancer he [the ballet master played by Vincent Cassel] improbably chooses to play the lead, on the assumption that she can somehow discover her inner Black Swan.

This is the side of the movie that isn't so funny: its revival of the myth of the frigid girl, repressed and mother-dominated, who must be sexually awakened and also, unfortunately, has to go nuts. It's the same story as Carrie, told with a similar pretense of sympathy for the young woman the film is out to punish.

The difference is that after all the tiresome displays of soft pink wallpaper and stuffed toys to telegraph the heroine's infantilism, all the visits to the toilet to dramatize her abjection, all the studiously giddy camerawork and Dancing With the Stars choreography (which keeps Portman busy tossing about her arms and mugging, as she does her swoon fake), you get to the part of the movie where the uncanny forces break loose -- just as in Carrie! -- and they're juicier than a bucket of pig's blood.

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I saw the film today, and have mixed feelings about it. There are two main themes here. First we have the better idea, the portray of a ballerina who deals with two common issues in the world of ballet...quest for stardom and obsession for perfection. By the end of the film we're left with the impression that this girl was probably suffering from a more serious illness-(I thought of schizophrenia right away)-for which she is definitely a mentally ill person, aggravated by extreme exhaustion and professional pressure. Choosing to portray this side of ballet is not a bad idea...and one not out of reality. It could be the exception of the rule, but "Dancing on my Grave" came to my mind INSTANTLY. This is Kirkland's story, embellished with a thriller makeup. On the way we're also given some hints here and there of other items very much part of the ballet world, like a super absorbent "ballet mom" and the weight issue.

The other side of the story is the most forced one-(and less credible). The director wanted to dilute the Black/White Swan duality item in the ballerina's personal story, and there's where the film fails. It just doesn't work. If he would have chosen to leave the unreal elements out and just present the intimate story of a mentally wrecked dancer, it would have been better.

Still...I had a good time. Portman's "dancing" was pleasant...(they just showed her from her waist up), but she looked pretty credible.

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Well, love it or hate it, Natalie Portman has now won 10 times for Best Actress for this film, with various other awards for Director, Art Director, Cinematographer and Score (Composer/Arranger).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_accolades_received_by_Black_Swan

Of course, "the biggies" are yet to come:

Jan 14 - Critics Choice

Jan 16 - Golden Globes

Jan 30 - SAG

Feb 26 - Indep. Spirit

Oscars (Feb 27) not yet on the list, as nominations won't be announced until Jan 25.

I'm still waiting for the Golden Monkey nominations to come out... :)

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Well....I guess congratulations are in order to the future Mrs. Millepied and incoming Baby Millepied??

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20453228,00.html

It's been kicked-up a notch to Yahoo News: http://movies.yahoo.com/news/movies.ap.org/natalie-portman-wed-black-swan-choreographer-ap

Will the wedding be before or after the Oscars, I wonder? Congrats to the beautiful couple - and they truly are that.

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Well....I guess congratulations are in order to the future Mrs. Millepied and incoming Baby Millepied??

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20453228,00.html

It's been kicked-up a notch to Yahoo News: http://movies.yahoo.com/news/movies.ap.org/natalie-portman-wed-black-swan-choreographer-ap

Will the wedding be before or after the Oscars, I wonder? Congrats to the beautiful couple - and they truly are that.

I was wondering if the wedding will be before or after the baby is born.

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Well....I guess congratulations are in order to the future Mrs. Millepied and incoming Baby Millepied??

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20453228,00.html

It's been kicked-up a notch to Yahoo News: http://movies.yahoo.com/news/movies.ap.org/natalie-portman-wed-black-swan-choreographer-ap

Will the wedding be before or after the Oscars, I wonder? Congrats to the beautiful couple - and they truly are that.

I was wondering if the wedding will be before or after the baby is born.

No one's business but theirs. Congratulations and good luck to them.

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