Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Black Swan

No guy will be able to relate to this, but girls- isn't Center Stage one of the best movies to watch while recovering from a hangover!  I can't tell you the number of times I watched sweet little Jody Sawyer dance her heart out while lying in bed trying to muster the energy to make it to a late brunch.  The plot is uncomplicated so you can rehash the previous night with your roommates while occasionally laughing at the subpar acting, terrible dialogue, and Peter Gallagher's eyebrows.  Of course you will pause to watch the awesome dance numbers (Higher Ground and The Way You Make Me Feel) and lines like, "I'm the best @$!# dancer in the American Ballet Academy- who the hell are you?"But mostly you'll sort of zone out and wait for your Advil to kick in.  It's one of the best worst movies ever.  


I couldn't help but think of Center Stage while watching Black Swan.  I know that's not a cool thing to admit, but there it is.  And while watching Black Swan I kept thinking, "man, I would hate to watch this movie with a hangover."  Actually, I had difficulty watching it in a perfectly healthy state.  About twenty minutes in my husband leaned over and said, "this is so intense it's unbearable."  

I'm not sure what genre Black Swan falls under.  I would say it's mostly a psychological thriller, but there are definitely elements of horror (which I was rather unprepared for).  I suppose that's why two other movies came to mind while watching this movie- Fatal Attraction (psychological thriller) and Rosemary's Baby (horror).  


Much like Black Swan, Fatal Attraction is a psychological thriller that reveals fairly early on that the main character is crazy but keeps you guessing at exactly how crazy.  And in Rosemary's Baby the main character is both a victim of circumstance and of her own desire which is a lot like the Nina Sayers character in Black Swan.  

But here's the thing with Fatal Attraction and Rosemary's Baby-  I can watch either of those movies over and over, because the directors (Adrian Lyne and Roman Polanski) give the audience a lot of breaks.  Remember when Glenn Close and Michael Douglass play football in the park and then go back to her place and eat spaghetti while listening to Madame Butterfly?  It's all so pleasant, and always leaves me craving pasta.  And I absolutely love the scenes in Rosemary's Baby when Rosemary decorates her new apartment.  By the way, there's an awesome Living In Rosemary's Baby on Design*Sponge which made me feel a lot more normal for noticing the Woodhouse's delightful apartment decor while they were being seduced by Satanists.   

There was not one minute of relaxation time in Black Swan.  Not one.  And while it's a very well done film that is getting incredible reviews (which I feel are mostly well deserved) I will never see this movie again because it's so unnerving.  

A few more things- one, if you are at all familiar with Swan Lake you will see the writing on the wall fairly quickly, but the film still manages to be suspenseful.  Two, it's awfully meta what with Winona Rider (an aging actress who looks a lot like Natalie Portman when you think about) playing the aging ballerina being replaced by Natalie Portman.  Three, even though Natalie Portman is completely creepy in this role, the great Barbara Hershey manages to out-creep her.  

And last but not least, don't order anything to eat if you take in this one at the theatre.  Remember, it's The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky and he pulls out all the usual grotesque stops.  

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