YOU GUYS, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis took a risk and hit that shit out of the fucking park. Wow. I’ve never seen a movie with such visceral acting, such an honest portrayal of dysfunctional family dynamics, and that was so. fucking. creepy.
Basically, Nina Sayers (Portman) has been working with her ballet company for four years. This is her season: Beth, who’d been the prima ballerina, is getting forcibly retired, and Nina’s slated to be the lead for Swan Lake. She’s perfect for the part. Her precision, fragility, and innocence are the essence of the tragic Swan Queen. New to the company is Lily (Kunis), who makes up for her imprecision and flakiness with her sheer passion for dance. She’s also perfect for the Swan Queen: her zest for life and unpredictability are the trademarks of the Black Swan, the seductive other half of the Swan Queen role. What she lacks for in form, she makes up for in flair, sensuality, and bravada.
As opening night approaches, Nina goes through an exquisite nervous breakdown. Lily reaches out to her, multiple times, but the rivalries engendered by a field where women over 28 are already past their prime makes any friendship between them impossible and dangerous for both. Moreover, the Black Swan has begun to spread its wings in Nina’s heart. Her lust/envy for Lily, her desire to break free of her mother’s control, and her drive towards perfection are an intoxicating, heady mix. All this is further complicated by Nina’s own coming-of-age as a dancer: Beth’s forced retirement, her manager’s casual sexual harassment, and Lily’s own cynicism highlight that the artistic world Nina thought of as sacred is also a business place where women’s bodies, health, and sanity all have expiration dates. This is not a love story. This is not a story about salvation. This is a story about artistry, perfection, and their worthiness as life-passions.
Here’s a great interview with the director where he talks about the awesomeness of Portman and Kunis. Here’s another interview from AfterEllen that talks a little more about the sex scene between the two actresses.