Black Swan

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: -1/2

Content: -4

Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey (looking somewhat possessed) Vincent Cassel. Drama/thriller. Written by John McLaughlin, Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz. Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A mentally unstable up-and-coming ballerina (Is nothing sacred in Hollywood?) begins to hallucinate bizarre activities after getting the part of a lifetime – the role of the princess-turned-aquatic-bird in Swan Lake. Along with paranoid nightmares, visions of scary phantasms, and fantasizing about sexual liaisons with members of both genders, the film becomes an exercise in bizarre subconscious inventions.

PREVIEW REVIEW: It is different, which evokes a positive reaction from some, but I found the mood and message disconcerting. Then there’s the R-rated content, which includes the depiction of sexual self-gratification, not once, but twice.

Sexual situations are used here to shock and reveal a dispassionate bawdiness rather than seen as an expression of love between two people. So, if you’re looking for a little romance, you’ll not find it in this one. And I would suspect that gays will not be charmed with the central character as she performs lesbian sex only after she determines to find her “evil” side.

It seems to be a film more determined to assault than entertain, once again preferring style over substance. Despite its bravado and bluster, like the Emperor’s new clothes, there’s not really much there.

Attempting to find a DVD alternative, I kept coming back to Swan Lake. If you can see an interpretation of this ballet, you’ll be far more rewarded than viewing Black Swan (in my opinion). Or view the stunning DVD The Red Shoes. This is a magnificent production about a young ballerina who is torn between two creative, possessive men. The use of color, the presentation of dance and the captivating, mood-ish fairytale narrative make The Red Shoes an exquisite film experience.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Fox Searchlight Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A few crude sexual references, including slang for body parts.

Obscene Language: Around 15 obscenities, mostly the f-word; some obscene name calling.

Profanity: Three misuses of Christ’s name.

Violence: Nightmarish violence, including a woman stabbing herself in the face with a fingernail file, another stabbed in the stomach with a shard of broken mirror glass. Blood: Blood spurting from a couple of wounds; some sudden and scary imagery.

Sex: Several crude discussions concerning the sex act, plus three explicit scenes, one with a man masturbating in public and two girls performing that act on one another; other sex acts are visualized.

Nudity: No nudity shown.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some social drinking and two young women take pills to get high while in a nightclub.

Other: A woman is seen vomiting.

Running Time: 103 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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