The Black Swan Nut

by Marinka on February 22, 2011

I saw Black Swan over the weekend. At one moment I reached for my BlackSwanBerry to tweet “Holy shit, I should get an Oscar for sitting through this” and saw that I had a text message from my twelve year old daughter.

How’s b.s.?, she wrote. Haha, I meant Black Swan. Sorry for the coincidence.

Except there was no coincidence. Because the movie was pure B.S. In other words, I didn’t like it. And I’m going to tell you why. (If that’s not enough of a clue: This post has Black Swan spoilers, or as I like to call them, time savers. )

As the movie opens we meet Natalie Portman’s Nina, a young woman with a little girl voice who lives in a super pink room with her mother, Hannah & Her Sisters’ Barbara Hershey. It’s entirely possible that they’re actually living in Hannah’s old apartment.

Right away we suspect that Barbara Hershey was a ballerina herself, and a not-too-successful one at that, because even though she’s a grown ass woman, she still wears her hair in a ballet bun. Barbara Hershey serves Nina half a grapefruit for breakfast and Nina rejoices. “It’s so pink!” she practically claps her hands. This is called foreshadowing and gives us a big hint that Nina is a nutjob.

Nina rides the subway to rehearsal and the back of someone’s head catches her eye. Why? Because the back of the dark head has a ballet bun! Can you believe it?! In NYC, of all places. But the Dark Ballet Bun gets off at a stop before Nina’s, so Nina relaxes. One less ballerina she has to worry about!

Except, and I don’t know what kind of psychic you have to be to see this one coming, while Nina is rehearsing with the other ballerinas, Dark Ballet Bun comes in and says that she got off at the wrong subway stop. Haha, those ballerinas sure are ditzy! And Dark Ballet Bun has a pair of black wings tattooed on her back. I wonder if that means anything?

The ballet director, Thomas, has an announcement! The company will be doing a production of Swan Lake. The story is that the White Swan is in love with the prince, but to be set free, they have to have sex or something, but before they do, the prince accidentally has sex with the Black Swan, because, apparently, he is color blind. To be honest, I’m not sure about the details because I just can’t take interspecies relations seriously. Nothing against Black Swan, I couldn’t get into it with Leda and Zeus, either.

Thomas is not sure about casting Nina because although she’s perfect as the White Swan, he doesn’t think she’ll be able to pull off the Black Swan. But since the whole movie is about Nina, he has no choice. He gives her some technical tips, like to go home and “touch herself.” Nina takes this advice to heart and touches herself better than anyone has every touched themselves before or since. It’s kind of shocking that she’s not blind by the end of that scene.

It’s almost as if this movie were made by men, or something.

Oh, I forgot. The scariest part of the movie is that Winona Ryder portrays Beth, who is now too old to be a ballerina. You know, like her ex Johnny Depp is too old to be a pirate.

But anyway, after Nina reaches the Climax of the Century she looks over and sees her mother sitting in the corner watching her. But no need to be alarmed! Barbara Hershey isn’t really there, Nina’s just crazy! Better crazy than awkward, huh?

More good news for the male audience members who were dragged to this ballet nightmare by their lady loves, though! Nina and Dark Ballet Bun go out for drinks and then have sex in Nina’s pink room. This is twice now that we’ve gotten to see Natalie Portman’s O-face, so the Oscar’s in the bag. Except it was a hallucination. But who cares, right? We got some girl on girl action, which is how we know that this is True Art.

Then some other things happen–like Nina deciding that she needs to move out, Barbara Hershey’s paintings mocking Nina, Nina scratching her back and ripping off her nails and some black feathers sprouting from Nina’s back. And Nina throwing out her stuffed animals, most of which seem to be bigger than Nina. I think we’re supposed to feel Nina’s psychosis, but instead what some of us were feeling was “hey, this is funny! How come no one else is laughing?!” (I’m paraphrasing something that Liz tweeted when she saw the movie.)

Overall, I give this movie two big swan wings down.

At its best, it was comical. At its worst, misogynist. Because, you know, women are crazy.

________________________
It turns out that this Oscar season, I’ve seen two movies. Black Swan and Yogi Bear. What can I say? I’m drawn to wildlife.

One year ago ...

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February 22, 2011 at 4:13 am

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

the mama bird diaries
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 12:30 am

I knew I didn’t want to see this movie. And I’m so glad I didn’t. BlackSwanBerry…. brilliant!

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Loukia February 22, 2011 at 12:36 am

I liked Black Swan but I LOVED this review SO MUCH it deserves an Oscar of its own! Well done, Marinka, and if you need a date for the red carpet, pick me? 😉

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anymommy February 22, 2011 at 12:42 am

I didn’t see it and now I never will. Thank you, time saver Marinka, for your wisdom.

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Karen February 22, 2011 at 1:10 am

I liked it. Not sure that it’s Emmy worthy, but I liked it. It was different.

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Hollywood Farm February 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

Emmy are for TV, Oscar for movies, but you were just joking right?

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Kimberly February 22, 2011 at 2:26 am

So you are that person who doesn’t listen to the public service announcement before the movie starts, about not texting during the movie. Don’t you know the other movie goers can become distracted and drive into an oncoming bus, or something? It’s hard for me to take your advice after reading that.

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Donna February 22, 2011 at 6:01 am

Best. Movie. Review. Ever.

I was feeling sad because it isn’t playing here in Amman, and I thought it was required viewing. Now I know not to waste my time – you saved me from despair, so thanks for that.

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From Belgium February 22, 2011 at 6:07 am

Ballet movie with girl on girl action and a crazy ballerina. Just what made you think it could be good…

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awesome dude February 22, 2011 at 7:55 am

“Because, you know, women are crazy. ”

The last line says it all.

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The Lady AshEfield February 22, 2011 at 8:34 am

Ms Swan AS the Black Swan. a much shorter, (no pun intended)- and entertaining take on this dreck of a film.

For you who do not know- Ms Swan is a character from the old American Television series “Mad TV”. She is always berating customers for not doing as she sees fit- or for not understanding her accent.

While this isn’t the best skit ever- it sure as hell beats sitting through this dreck of a film– and i for one am happy to see her back in action.

“dave chappelle….dave chappelle”

i’m w/ Marinka, (i usually am)– save your $12, but jump on over to You Tube and give yourself a giggle or two…or three.
“dave chappelle….dave chappelle”.

signed-
The Lady AshEfield
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VFnGk0hXEU

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Sarah L. February 22, 2011 at 8:35 am

As a former professional ballerina, who lived and worked in NYC- I found this film at worst incredibly offensive and at best ridiculous.

The “go touch yourself” scene was a particular favorite. I guess just cause we’re crazy artists, we’re not businesses and sexual harassment is totally aok. Cue eye roll.

I think you touched on most of the key points of the levels of this movie’s absolute suckage- but one of my favorite scenes was when she’s practicing in her apartment. Because, yeah I do a lot of big turning combinations on slick, uneven hardwood floors. That’s totally how I practice. Ugh. What a bunch of toss.

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Marinka February 22, 2011 at 8:44 am

See, I thought the purpose of that scene was to show off how huge the apartment was.

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Sarah L. February 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

You’re right ballerinas (and the former ballerina spinsters) all live in huge apartments with loads of space to practice ballet. Cause NYC is so cheap and the apartments there are sooo spacious. Haha.

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Claudine M Jalajas February 22, 2011 at 9:36 am

I HATED this movie. Nothing but a big suckity suck fest. Perfect review.

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Mom101
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

My mom described it as a male fantasy of what dancers might be like.

I just call it the best comedy of the year.

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Selfish Mom
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 9:55 am

It was hard to laugh at this hysterical review because all I could picture was me stabbing you in the back of the head as you text during a movie.

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Peajaye
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 10:16 am

I almost got my partner to see this movie by telling him it was based on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book of the same name that explores the theory of inevitable, unexpected events. Unfortunately, he had already read the reviews, so I tried, “But I heard it’s like ‘Showgirls’ meets ‘The Turning Point’ meets ‘Basic Instinct’!” That made his resolve firmer. Now, I have to keep him away from your review, or he won’t even watch it on Blu-ray with me 🙁

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Dana
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 10:21 am

You heard about the moviegoer who shot another guy dead during the movie, right? Over a dispute about how loudly he was eating his popcorn.
Misogynist movie themes. Psycho moviegoers.
This movie sounds like a real winner.

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Yuliya
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 10:32 am

I still want to see this movie, but now I have no one but myself to blame, so thanks alot (not a lot) for that.

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alexandra
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

This review was so good I’m going to come back and leave comments again and again all day {hopefully, I won’t go blind}

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alexandra
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm

*coffeesnort* “climax of the century”

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alexandra
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm

OMG…dying here… “the prince is color blind….”

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alexandra
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Oh, where’s my son’s inhaler… I can’t breathe…”touching herself better than anyone’s ever touched themselves before or since”

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alexandra
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I think I”d better quit rereading this now, b/c I just felt arrhythmia….”a ballet bun. Can you believe it? In NYC??”

Too funny…

Taking a health break, I’ll be back later.

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Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop.
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I may have just peed myself. Oops. Laughing much too hard. And to think I thought I was the only other person in America who hated this movie.

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Marinka February 23, 2011 at 10:18 am

There are more of us out there. And we will not be silenced. Except if we’re eating popcorn, of course.

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annie February 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Thank you for your brilliant review! Now I absolutely don’t want to see it but my husband does. So thanks and curses all rolled into one. I can only hope him seeing it will lead to my own climax of the century.

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Danielle February 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

“hey, this is funny! How come no one else is laughing?!” <— Hahaha! This was so fun to read. I'm a new reader and I will be back for sure. I'm glad to see someone agrees with me that this movie was a total crock!

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julie gardner February 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I loved this post. But see, here’s my problem.

I’m kind of competitive. Sometimes. So now I feel like I have to spend my day trying to out-touch Nina. This is a goal I might be able to achieve.

Because I can’t dance on my toes, get my hair into a ballet-bun, or be really. really. really. skinny.

Oh. And I’m not color blind. Nevertheless. I think I can touch myself.

As long as my mom’s not watching.

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Nina B
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm

This was FANTASTIC!!! The previews looked terrible and I kept refusing to see it. Now I’m glad . . . and I can still have good feelings about my name from sparing myself the visuals described above.

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Wendi
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I enjoy nothing more than a negative review–hilarious.

However, I’m an Aronofsky fan because his movies are never boring, trite or expected. At least he pushes the envelope unlike a lot of the other shit in the theater.

Now where’s Alexandra?

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Jane February 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I was wondering if I need to see this before Sunday……
Thanks! Saved some cash!
But I did want some popcorn……oh well!

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Vicki
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm

See, I thought you AND your daughter were in the theater. Texting each other. In the dark. Quietly. Ballerina-like.

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Heather February 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

So glad I can cross this movie off of my To Do list. Now I can get onto more important things, like hexing you for saying Johnny Depp is too old to play a pirate.

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tracy
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I agree with Heather, Johnny Depp is still a hot pirate. But I am over 40 so perhaps my vote doesn’t count.

What I really want to know is are all the bitches skinnier than I am, because if they are I really don’t want to see it.

Awesome review.

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alexandra
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm

OK, caught my breath, back for round two:

Oh sweet jesus, did you just read this….”spoilers…or as I like to call them, time savers.”

You’re killing me here, today, marinka…

I can’t help it…

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Alexandria
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm

maybe you saw a different black swan because i wanted to stand up and give the movie a round of applause after i saw it.

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Deb Rox
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I didn’t think it was mysogynist and more an implosion of pink feminity in the way The Wrestler wasn’t man-hating but was a gender extreme breakdown.

But then again I’m deeply biased because Black Swan proved that people who eat grapefruit and only tiny pieces of cake correlate with craziness, which I have long suspected. Also, good god, Mila is hot. HOT!

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Marinka February 23, 2011 at 10:20 am

Well, she’s only hot in the way that people who are gorgeous and very sexually appealing are hot.

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The Flying Chalupa
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm

So what you’re saying is…”Wild Things” with Denise Richards and Neve Campbell is True Art? Interesting.

Marinka & Ebert. You missed your profession. Brilliant as ever.

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Slow Panic
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm

total timesaver. how i heart you.

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Kate Coveny Hood
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I tend to see Oscar nominated movies five years after everyone else. Chances are that I’ll forget all about this post in the meantime (meaning – “Marinka wrote something about that…what did she say…? Something funny about Natalie Portman touching herself and then something funny about stuffed animals…No clue – but it was funny. So maybe the movie is good?” *add to Netflix queue*). So I’ll probably end up seeing it – but thanks for the heads up anyway.

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Jillian February 22, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Your review was magnificent, standing ovation! I myself felt like Black Swan was an overly indulgent portrayal of neurosis, lacking imagination and mystique. I was so tired of Natalie Portman by the end of the film I couldn’t wait to leave her.

You just got yourself a new fan and I’m wondering what took me so long to visit you over here since I follow you on Twitter and NYC is my home away from home, which happens to be Aspen, not a bad 1st.

Want to see an incredible film? See The Fighter and let me know what you think.

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kiki
Twitter:
February 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm

pals tell me i “need” to see Black Swan. i don’t think Natalie Portman can act and i fear she will win the Oscar (i’m sure she is a really nice person and will be a fantastic mom). thanks to your review, i will be saving 10.50 that can be spent on girl scout cookies instead.

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anna see February 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm

2 big swan wings down?! thank you! you just saved me from 2 hours of ick!

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Ann Wyse February 23, 2011 at 12:13 am

I’ve never been a fan of Natalie Portman – which is why I *did* like watching her kill herself to become the Black Swan. Kudos to whoever cast that one.

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Diane February 23, 2011 at 9:36 am

What a movie review! Finally the truth about cinematic crapola. Did you see – it even drove some Latvian over the edge (but to be truthful, those Latvians have always been a little whack. I ought to know – maiden name was Ungurs). Thanks for the time and money saver – how much do I owe you?

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Ann's Rants
Twitter:
February 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I LOVE THIS POST.

I’d just like to add how horrible the ballet director was, but it didn’t matter because he was hot and had an accent.

If you think sweaters wrapped around male shoulders are hot. On an unattractive man.

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Brutalism February 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Only wish I had read this review before wasting the time on this movie. I felt like I was the only one who wanted to laugh during some of this. (The parts where I was not closing my eyes and looking away from the screen, that is.)

As the friend I saw this with so nicely summed up the movie, “I have no idea where to put that in my brain.”

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Holly February 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I read your review right after watching tosh.o’s show where he reviews the movie Tiptoes with Matthew McCoughanahay or however you spell his last name, and I swear, you should apply to write for their show. I laughed TWICE on a Tuesday night, which is exceedingly rare.

http://tosh.comedycentral.com/video-clips/spoiler-alert—tiptoes

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Kim Tracy Prince February 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I loved this movie. LOVED.

There, I said it.

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RealMommyChron March 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I think I am not alone, when I say THANKS for saving me some time! I can’t actually fit my friggin’ life into 24 hours as it is, without sitting through movies that make me want to punch someone. (Namely, the producer)

Now we will not order Black Swan via Netflix and let it sit on our kitchen counter for 2.5 weeks.

Or maybe we will. Who knows. I actually have a hard time taking advice. Must learn lesson by self.

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lisa adams
Twitter:
March 4, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I hated it too. I was ranting before we even got out of the theater…

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