When I got appendicitis a few weeks back, my first thought was, "What, surgery? I have to go see Black Swan!" There's history underpinning my impatience. I spent 13 years of my life, longer than I've done almost anything, striving for Bolshoi perfection in ballet classes. There was nothing I loved more than achieving 11 revolutions in a pirouette, or leaping until I felt suspended in mid-air. But the punishments were many, including blood-filled toe shoes, instructors whacking my belly bulge with a stick ("you're too old for baby fat!"), and the self-hatred that comes when you realize you'll never have a Balanchine body. The trailer to Aronofsky's opus tapped into this uniquely diabolical allure of ballet, and left me with high hopes for the film. Now that I've finally seen it, I think I might have a new favorite film of all time. (Really.) It's as perfect as a film gets, a fever dream where self-mutilation in the service of transcendence becomes paranoid perfectionism tinged with the grotesque. Not since Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive have I seen such a stunning transformation on screen; Natalie Portman moves from fragile to feral so convincingly that my head was spinning. By the final credits I was in tears over the warped perfectionism ballet instilled in me, and the fleeting moments of true beauty it graced me with.
Pardon the brief interruption to the blog, but my appendix decided to burst last week. All is much better now, I'm at home and cozy on the couch, although I'll know I'm fully back when I finally decide change the channel from FaLaLaLaLifetime. Keep you posted. (Collage by twinnieart.)