Black Swan (2010)
As one of the few heavy supporters of Darren Aronofsky's 2017 film Mother! I was really excited to see this film. Mother! was a movie that stayed with me and considering that film was panned by so many I was pumped for a Darren Aronofsky film that was a critical hit. Yet where I think this film overall is stronger than Mother! it also is a much bigger showcase of the flaws that come with Darren Aronofsky's style of film.
Darren Aronofsky is a director that clearly values and appreciated metaphors and out of world moments as a way to give films depth. Mother! basically was entirely a metaphor so they all connected with me and had me intrigued, yet the metaphors and out of world moments feel out of place. Where this could have been a great character study psychological thriller it feels like Aronofsky tries too hard to make it something beyond that and I found myself getting taken out of the film because of those elements. You can have bizarre moments that play with the idea of what is reality but when you have the amount of those moments that this film has it becomes nothing more than a distraction. Eventually, the impact of these scenes also lose their impact, it got to a point with the dream sequences and fantasies that when something crazy happened I would just assume it didn't really take place so it wasn't that intriguing.
That being said though there is plenty to love about this film, mainly the lead performance from Natalie Portman which deservingly won her an Academy Award. The slow transformation that her character goes through is perfectly crafted in this performance. Every line delivery is so well thought out, this is a character and a performance that has to be timid yet also has to have an element of desire and passion behind it. This is not an easy combination to execute in general much less to the level that they are able to in this film. It easily became my favorite Natalie Portman performance from what I have seen and actually added a whole new level of respect I had for her as an actor. I also think this movie has a lot of great technical portions to it, the cinematography is breathtaking and it paired beautifully with a bold and powerful score. The costumes and makeup are also just fantastic. I also have to give props to the dancers and the dance choreographers, there is a ton of dancing in this movie that is supposed to look like it is executed by top tier dancers and it all looks great. The dancing alone can suck you into a scene and not let go until the dance has concluded. I just really wish that these fantastic elements were not ruined by cringey jump scares and unneeded metaphors that drastically take away from the story in my opinion.