Natalie Portman IS the Black Swan

Black Swan (2010) by Darren Aronofsky

When I watched V for Vendetta late last year I was quite amazed at how good Natalie Portman was in it. Not because she was good but how good. I was never a fan of hers but I always regarded her as a talented actress. Well, V for Vendetta convinced me that there was more than talent but Black Swan

Every now and then (but probably not that often) you watch a performance by an actress that just blows you away. Even an hour after leaving the theater you feel drugged and dazed and confused. Such a performance I saw in Black Swan by Natalie Portman. It was amazing, it was catching, it was sad and heart-wrenching, stunning, and, yes, sexy.

I’m still over-whelmed to tell the truth. From the first moment Natalie Portman appeared on screen she was like a force I could not look away from. And it was not just her. The female cast seemed to take their cues from her and showed amazing performances. Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, they were all brilliant. But Natalie Portman was breathtaking.

You might wonder if I did not think Vincent Cassel was good as well but honestly I did not even see him. Maybe that is because I think women are the better actors per se, or maybe I just ignore men per se, I don’t know but this movie was made by the women in it not by Vincent Cassel.

And I also don’t want to talk about the story because I would have to unearth some of the raw clichés that inhabit the movie and the fact that it bows to heteronormative standards in the end. And I don’t want to do that. It would make me cherish the movie less and nothing should lessen the joy, the enjoyment, the amusement, the horror I felt watching this movie. It was truly a pleasure.

And if you ask me what it’s about I’d say: A woman who admires another woman, wants to be like her, wants to be her, wants to be with her. Not necessarily in that order and you are never sure which woman is which and what the others have to do with it… it’s complicated and gripping and frightening.

It is almost comical how glad I am these days to see Winona Ryder again. I could almost imagine watching The Dilemma. Almost.

Well, the Oscars are coming up and, of course, there was no way around Natalie Portman and her performance and I hope everyone in the Academy will vote for her. I bow to Ms. Portman.


2 thoughts on “Natalie Portman IS the Black Swan

  1. Whilst I appreciate the article I have to question why you would feel that women are better actors. I believe that there are great actors from both sexes and to ignore one half of a cast seems a little naive.
    I am not blown awat by Ms Portman as I find her a little cold but she is very beautiful and I am sure that she is very good in Black Swan, however the film is very geared towards a female audience and many men have no interest in it.
    I will no doubt watch it at some time and enjoy it and remember your comments as I watch it.

    1. I guess my reference toward ignoring the male character – as Vincent Cassel was really the only male character – goes toward the history of women in film, as they have been mostly decoration. In this case the roles seem reversed: Cassel is decoration, the women are the ones with the serious acting jobs. As men are also referenced as being talented or serious/able actors and women as being beautiful (you made such a reference also), I sometimes overcompensate into the other direction. Yes, I think that women are generally better actors (historically they always had more to hide, more to lose than men and were and are thus better at concealment and misleading) and I enjoy films with women more than stories about men (because there are simply too many) – be it in film or literature.
      I don’t think that this is naive as men/male critics have a long history of doing just that, only to women. I’m doing it to men, I don’t see any fault in that, actually.

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