Throwback Thursday: Black Swan (2010)

Reaching the mountain top of our careers requires hard work, drive, and sacrifice. But the question begs, how much sacrifice is needed to get to that peak?

In the 2010 film, Black Swan, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a ballet dancer living and working in New York City. Dance is everything to her, she has no life outside of it. After her company’s former prima ballerina Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder) is pushed out of the company, the door opens for Nina to play the title role in The Black Swan. Pushed by her former ballet dancer mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), and her artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) to succeed, Nina pushes herself to breaking point. Adding to the pressure is competition from the newest member of the company, Lily (Mila Kunis). Will Nina get to play the part and if she does, what will it cost her?

This film is absolutely fantastic. The performances are compelling and powerful. The duress that Nina is under radiates from the screen. I felt the urge to pull Nina out of the film, hug her, and tell her that everything will be fine, regardless of the outcome. The screenplay has a delicious Alfred Hitchcock undertone, grabbing the audience by the throat and refusing to let go until the screen go black.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Throwback Thursday-The Black Swan (1942)

Throughout human history, pirates have been enshrined as rebellious heroes who have fought against conformity. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, films about pirates and their adventures were the rage.

In 1942, The Black Swan was released. Upon taking the oath of office as Governor of Jamaica, Henry Morgan (Laird Cregar) announces that pirating is now illegal. He turns to former collaborators to clean up the Caribbean. One of his collaborators, Jamie Waring (Tyrone Power) does not exactly follow the new governor’s orders.

He kidnaps Lady Margaret Denby (Maureen O’Hara). He expects her to be a shrinking violet. But Lady Margaret is not what she seems to be. While their relationship quickly develops into a love/hate relationship, Jamie joins the rebels who are not so eager to give up pirating.

Part of me loves this movie. It’s a great action flick, with plenty of adventure and thrills to keep the audience in their seats. Power and O’Hara have great chemistry. I love that Margaret has a fire and an energy that few female characters (especially in this genre) were allowed to posses in that era.

The other part of me wishes that I had a time machine to go back in time and make certain changes. Margaret is the only female character, kept in the box of the love interest. The other issue is that pirating, especially in 17th and 18th centuries, was not as glamorous as this film makes it out to be.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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