Friday, 16 October 2015

Opposing Characters Film Review- Black Swan (2010)

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Black Swan is a psychological thriller/horror film about a young woman perusing a dream for perfection in the world of ballet. The story follows what she goes through when she is cast as the main character in Swan Lake, a job that is guaranteed to make her career. In this film there are two opposing characters who are both different in personality and looks, and their actions affect each other through out the story.

Main Character- Nina Sayers
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Nina is the main protagonist in the film and the audience sees the world she lives in through her eyes. Though she is a grown woman and a professional ballet dancer, she lives at home with her mother. She has no siblings and there appears to be an absence of a father in Nina's life. Her mother is fiercely protective and controlling over Nina, and so she has a very child-like state of mind. It is revealed that Nina's mother, Erica was once a professional ballet dancer herself and takes pride in her daughter's ambitions. She seems intent on living through Nina's success, as the birth of Nina was the reason she gave up her career. Nina is aware of this and seems to follow every command her mother makes of her, as if she is trying to make up for the loss of her mother's career.

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 When it comes to ballet Nina is a perfectionist and likes to obsess over the art. This was one of the reasons why she was given the main part as the swan queen in Swan Lake. The director of the show, Thomas Leroy, new that Nina could play the white swan as she was pure, innocent and graceful. However he wanted to bring out the black swan character in her for the performance. The black swan is dark and seductive, everything that Nina opposes. So Thomas tries to bring that out in her, and the method he uses is through sexual desire. As Nina is innocent and has a child-like state of mind, she doesn't talk about sex or let's it influence her life. This is what Thomas believes will change Nina into the black swan, and so he seduces her and touch her. Throughout the film Nina can feel herself changing into the black swan. She would occasionally see goosebumps swarm over her skin, and sometimes would see black feathers sprout from her flesh. Nina does not welcome the change at first and tries to resist it, but she still sees the black swan trying to break out from her. This gives the impression that Nina has another personality hidden inside her mind. One sign of this is the delusions she suffers from. From time to time she would see a woman, who looked exactly like her, but had a dark sexual aura about her. This may be the manifestation of the black swan that haunts Nina's mind, and follows her where ever she goes. On the night of the opening performance, Nina suffers from another delusion after stumbling on stage. During the interval she believes that she murdered someone by stabbing them with a mirror shard. After that murder is when the full transformation takes place. Nina goes out onto stage as the black swan and a changed woman. On stage through Nina's eyes, black feathers spout from under her skin, forming large black wings. This is the moment Nina let the black swan in her mind take control of her body.

Opposing Character- Lily
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After Nina was given the role as the swan queen there was one person that stood in her way from her desires. Lily is a ballet dancer brought in to replace one of the performers who was unable to continue with the show. Lily is the opposing character to Nina, as she is confident, relaxed and sexually seductive. She is everything the black swan is suppose to be, and this does not escape the notice of Thomas. Very quickly Nina becomes nervous around Lily, and worries over her role in the show when there appears to be a descent competitor that could take her place. Nina's delusions begin to centre on Lily, especially on the night they go out drinking together. Here Lily goes home with Nina and they have sex. However the next morning, Nina wakes up alone and sees Lily at work, where she states that she didn't go to Nina's home. For Nina to have a sexual fantasy suggests the fact that the black swan could be manifesting in the form of Lily, and Nina had been seduced by the black swan, not Lily. Though she may seem it, there are reasons Lily may not be the main antagonist in the film. Apart from making Nina feel nervous and intimidated, Lily had never been directly malicious towards her. Instead Lily is more of a friend than the other ballet dancers, who exclude Nina for being different. Though in the whole film, there is no one more unlike Nina than Lily.

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Illustration List

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