Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) revolves around a New York production of Swan Lake. Nina is a young ballerina dreaming of a leading role. She is talented, but very infantile person. At 28, Nina still lives with her mother, who surrounded her with overprotectiveness. Nina’s mother is a ballerina who left her career after the birth of a child. She completely subjugated her daughter. Nina wakes up in a pink room, among soft toys; mother feeds and clothes her. The life of the main character is as if locked in a golden cage, and already at this stage a parallel with a bird can be traced. Nina has no friends, hobbies and sexual relations. She is an ugly duckling who will one day turn into a swan. But now all that makes up the meaning of her existence is her mother and ballet.
Choreographer Tom takes a risk by offering Nina the lead role. He considers Nina talented, but not relaxed and passionate enough to play Odile, the black swan. At the same time, the girl is ideal for the role of Odette – the bright side of the personality of the main character. In an attempt to liberate Nina, Toma asks her to masturbate, but the main character has problems with sexuality. She sees an image of her mother and ominous hallucinations. Toma gets angry, and Nina slowly sinks into a state of mental breakdown. Physical exhaustion, the huge responsibility that she placed on herself in preparation for the performance, as well as problems with her mother, psychologically break the main character.
Meaning of Black Swan
In order to understand the meaning of the film “Black Swan”, you need to take a closer look at the image of another main character – Lily, who is mysteriously connected with Tom and Nina herself. Lily is a former dancer. She strikes up a friendship with the main character, takes her to a nightclub and brings her to a state of euphoria by mixing ecstasy into alcohol. Nina is sure that after the party she spent the night with Lily, but she is not. At the morning rehearsal, Lily is surprised by Nina’s behavior. The anxiety of the main character begins to grow, she is tormented by visual hallucinations, she comes to the hospital to talk with the former prima troupe, and leaves from there with bloodied hands and a nail file, with which the prima allegedly pierced her face. Nina is constantly haunted by nightmares and the feeling that Lily wants to take her place in the production. She is tormented by conflicting feelings: on the one hand, Nina wants to be like Lily, on the other hand, she wants to kill her.
The leitmotif in the film is Nina’s transformation into the Black Swan. With amazing metaphor, Darren Aronofsky depicts the transformation of the inner world of the main character. The image of Nina develops throughout the film. From a naive, hardworking girl, she turns into a cruel Odile obsessed with a dark passion. The visuals are full of effects that capture the viewer’s imagination: the skin rash that plagued the ballerina throughout the film turns into goosebumps; Nina’s membranes grow, black wings erupt.
There is an opinion that the meaning of the film “Black Swan” is that the main character goes through all the stages of a woman’s growing up: from innocence to complete sexual emancipation. And the final words of the dying Nina that she has reached perfection are actually words about orgasm. But if we leave Freudianism alone and remember that Aronofsky is deeply symbolic, then we understand that this picture is not just about a girl growing up.
The image of Lily is clearly connected with the ancient image of Lilith, the first wife of Adam, who later became a demon. Also, the character of Mila Kunis embodies the dark side of the swan – Odile and Nina herself. It is no coincidence that in many scenes the viewer does not understand whether Nina really sees Lily or is it the fruit of her sick fantasy. A real psychological drama is being played out before us. In the soul of the main character, as in the play, there is a struggle between two principles: good and evil, light and darkness. The final scene is victory and inner liberation. By killing Lily, Nina kills herself. Because not a single soul consists entirely of light or darkness: Odile is hiding in every Odette.
In the finale, Nina completely transforms into a black swan. To kill Lily, she chooses a shard of a mirror and this is also very symbolic. Because throughout the film the main character sees her dark essence, her second self in the mirrors. Thus, in the finale, Nina tries to free herself from her nature, to be part of herself by committing a murder, but in the end, dancing the finale, she notices a bleeding wound on her white robe.
The success of the film “Black Swan” is largely due to its versatility. It looks like a good layer cake. The director’s boundless talent made it possible to create a masterpiece in which the visuals can be interpreted in completely different ways and not a single detail will go beyond the context. So lovers of psychology will tell you about the narcissistic disorder of Nina’s mother, and about who was the main director in the life of the heroine. Experts in the field of medicine are still hotly debated: schizophrenia or psychosis. People whose profession is related to creativity will see in this film the problems of raising a talented child in conditions of tough training and the consequences of creative perfectionism; many without a doubt recognize themselves in the image of Nina. It seems to some that Nina, like Icarus, burned out in her impulse for superiority, and the film ends with the death of the heroine. Someone that she died at the peak of her fame in a state of complete bliss. And there are those who will only laugh at these versions, because Nina did not die at all in the finale. Here he is so ambiguous, this Darren Aranofsky!
Write in the comments your meaning of the Black Swan movie. We look forward to waiting!