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December 23, 2010


good stuff.

thanks for the interpretation.

I just came from the movie and am still trying to determine the true meaning. I enjoyed the ride, just not sure exactly where I ended up. Thanks!

I think it is a study on DID. Brought out by environment and genertic predespostition (the mother's paintings). I think her controling nature supressed a crucial part of her child's identity which had to emerge at some point. Also she appeared to be suffering from psychosis similar to a schizophranic episode. I think that the role of the Black swan brought out an episode and the dark part of her ego was able to take over. She was essentially out of balance and suffered from a major psychiatric condition. Just my humble opinion.

Nice review/blog of this movie. I haven't seen it yet, but, its still playing in local theatres. Will have to make a trek to go see it.

I liked the movie, but I need help. What really happened and what did Nina imagine? If you haven't seen it, please do not read this because I don't want to ruin it for you- but was Lilly really after her (part) or did she imagine that?

Sam, I don't think it's 100% possible to tell what Nina imagined, and what was objectively real. This is what makes the movie so interesting -- the blurry line drawn between what transpires within the mind and how that relates to the "real" world.

I put "real" in quotation marks because neuroscience tells us the obvious: that it is impossible for humans to be in direct contact with reality. Everything we experience is processed by the senses and brain before it reaches our awareness.

For me, the parts of the movie where Nina is experiencing something that also is seen by other people, such as her ballet director, are most likely to have been objectively true -- since the camera shows what everybody else saw.

In other parts of the movie, either Nina is alone or we're experiencing her world through her head. I recall that scenes in the bar were like this.

But I could be wrong, That's one of the messages of this movie. I could be wrong. Nina could be wrong. We all can be. Reality isn't always as it appears.

Brilliant write up, well done!

A very thought provoking film. How often in life are young people propelled into the performing Arts or sport so that a parent can live throught the success of their child, having failed themselves. The pressure on these children to succeed is immense and leads to behaviour like self harming and eating disorders in their quest to please. I'd recommend you to watch this film with someone else as there is great room for discussion afterwards.

I agree with Blogger Brian. I cannot tell which parts of the movie are real and not real. I think she imagined the Mila Kunis character..... when she stabs her with the mirror Nina bleeds in the end... that character is actually Nina. She appears to have schitzophrenia

I think it's similar to that of Little Red Riding Hood, leaving being a child version of yourself behind and confronting sexual maturity. Simply the white swan playing the role of Ninas immature self and the black swan playing the role of her sexually mature self. There are hints in the film, such as the director telling her to go and play with her self and also telling her to be the black swan she needs to let go, also notice how Lily is praised for being a good black swan when she is practising and she is not scared of sex; obviously these are all hints that by Nina confronting sexuality (the Black Swan) she will be able to play the role better. It is known in stories such as little red riding hood that the death of the character isn't actually them dying but in fact them leaving behind their immature and non sexually active self. Notice how Nina kills the black swan (a symbol of confrontation of her maturation) but it is the white swan (her immature self) that is actually shown to die, this suggests that in fact she has not died, she has accepted maturation by confronting sexuality literally and mentally (scenes when she becomes the Black Swan and confronts it by killing it) and is now ready to move on into her sexually active life.

mm i watched this movie with my other half and really enjoyed it, and thought no more about it for a day or two when i had actually absorbed what i had seen, and i said to my other half what do you think that movie was actually about, the things that you thought were happening were not happening, and my conclusion was she stole some bodys life the "retired ballerina" and then being in her shoes caused too much pressure she was trying to live up to the expectations of someone else trying so hard to be perfect, but my partner was thinking she may have been abused by the mother and this was causing her to rebel and self destruct,
but i think the only person that will actually understand this movie is someone that has devoted their life to an art form and that actually understands how perfect you have to be and understands the pressures that go along with it

1. The movie deals with transcendence. From the very 1st symbol of the pink grapefruit (where she says how nice and pink it is…also grapefruit…seeds as ovaries…and vagina like)…(as well…the room is filled with pink images, pink accessories, pink items that represent the soft side…pastel passionate existence) the film deals with coming to terms with opening oneself up to experience…of feeling the dark side of one being/existence which the Black Swan represents. Embracing life and experience. Even the choreographer said…are you a virgin. She lied and said no. He then said go home and sexually express yourself. Open yourself up. Get in “touch” with yourself. Feel yourself. “This will lead to transcendence.” And the symbolism of dealing with one’s inner conflict. That is where she sees images of herself in he mirror…her dual self that she is trying to reconcile. That is also reflected in the duality of the white and black swans. The passivity of the white swan of being pursued…and the black swan as the pursuer. One who embraces life…feels deeply…”opens” oneself up to “feeling” as a being. This conflict goes on through the film…until her understudy gives her a drug to help her make the transition. Yet the understudy was caught on the drug which “superficially” causes her to feel. This was also expressed by the white powder on the understudies lip when she came to Nina. It was Nina who ultimately makes the transition on natural terms given that the mirror she smashed was the reflection of the side of herself she was in conflict with (which was represented by the understudy as a visual metaphor). Likewise, part of the mirror that was meant to kill the understudy (which was visually obvious) was metaphorically a killing of the part of Nina that she needed to come to terms to overcome her ability for transcendence. Likewise, it was glass mirror that broke her virginity and bleed. That is why after the performance…and she comes back to her dressing room…she realized (when the understudy congratulated her)…that the killing was actually the part of herself she wanted to left go and overcome…and realized she killed it in herself by invoking the glass in the vagina (the very center of birth and giving of life). There are so many other symbols as well…as giving it ones all…and living deeply to the point that one expires. That one exhausts life. That happened with the dancer who was a star and retired…for Nina to take her place. That life also transcends…and that there is birth and death. As well as birth and death in our self in our own growth, feeling, and of becoming. That when we leave our sense of innocence of the young…we learn, we grow, we become wiser…and by the time we acquire such wisdom and rewards we die. It’s a fascinating film dealing with much duality of life, of transcendence, of coming into one’s own. Of self-actualization…to the point of death. Learning and dealing with the issues of living life deeply. There are other symbols and metaphors I have yet to touch on (the dream, mother’s refrain from realizing her goals, etc.) It all means something. Many things are obvious…and given their significance it only helps to build the case that there was at least a deliberate or at least implied sense that art imitates life.

Here's another commentary which I think is written very well and distinctly...

To me this was a metaphor about the battle between two parts of the self (the good little girl who pleased Mother and the perhaps the sexual, independent adult part). Her mother clipping her fingernails was like symbolically clipping her wings, as the expression goes, and keeping her little and meek and controllable, making her remain a perfect "sweet girl". The white swan (pure good girl) and the black swan (strong, independent woman) represented both parts of herself in conflict, battling it out. The Mila Kunis character served to show Nina what was possible, were she not so perfectionistic and restrained,someone who could let go, be sexual, and independent. Without giving anything away, I think the ending was symbolic. Nina could not integrate both parts, so one had to go (and I believe the ending was only in her mind).

I believe Nina took her part so seriously that it eventually drove her crazy.. sad, but isn't that how many people get over certain activities?? Just sports frenzy confuses me... how people can get so fanatic over sweaty people fighting over a BALL!!! soccer, baseball, wrestling, football.. their life expectancy is 50 if they're lucky, to get the shit knocked out of you for millions of dollars????? I don't get it, we have hungry people still in new orleans after katrina but a BALL is most important. by the way, why did they only show nina from the waist up in many scenes while she was dancing?? that took away from her performance. thought provoking movie....very interesting.

very well reviewed.

I still don't understand this? Was she going crazy? Or was she a demon obsessing? Or was mila kunis the demon? What's happening? Lol

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