In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_5pva4m8otgn1ml9iqxtmafrzqoe

How to Be Single

Think of "How to Be Single" as a cinematic Whitman’s Sampler: There are enough pieces that work to offset the pieces that don’t.

Thumb_large_it88e38ctyyhosflczultpw2org

Glassland

A young Dublin taxi driver deals with his alcoholic mother's decline. Bleak, tough, brilliantly acted trip down a familiar road.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Blog Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Primary_bsbackstage-thumb-510x324-32453

Three minor notions: 2. Perfection in "Black Swan"

I enjoyed Darren Aronovsky's "Black Swan" as a kind of lurid 1970s drive-in exploitation horror movie (more "Carrie" than "The Red Shoes" or "Repulsion") that wears its multifarious influences on its head like a tinfoil rhinestone tiara. (In fact, as I've said before, I found the Oscar-winning performance by Natalie Portman to be its weakest feature, though I ambivalently concede that, in the long run, it probably works in the film's favor: she's so exasperatingly one-note that when, at last, she becomes the Black Swan it's not only a catharsis but a relief.)

But what, do you think, is the key to Nina's late-blooming transformation? After all those missed opportunities to let loose, to grow up, what finally tips her over the edge? The drugs, the sex, the mom, the ballet director, the rivalry, the Dying Swan (Winona Ryder)? I haven't seen much discussion of that. Maybe it's obvious, but the answer, I think, is when her partner (and off-screen baby daddy, Benjamin Millepied) drops her on her patoot. And not just because it gives her a much-needed bump on the noggin at the same time -- though that, psychologically speaking, no doubt helps, too. What she finds, perhaps, is something like what the Japanese call "wabi-sabi," the understanding that "nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."

All through the picture, Nina is obsessed with achieving "perfection." In the end, she believes she's found it, albeit with a shard of mirror glass puncturing the illusion of seamlessness. But, of course, the flaw -- the risk, even the failure -- is what finally lifts her performance beyond the calculated sterility of "perfection" and makes it... perfect.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

30 Minutes on: "The Swimmer"

A peculiar film, poised somewhere between satire and dream logic.

Sundance 2016: Being American

A piece on the American experience reflected through four films at the Sundance Film Festival by an Ebert Fellow.

Wax Masks and Helicopter Acrobatics: An Extra's Experience on the Set of "Spectre"

FFC Gerardo Valero reports on his experience working as an extra on "Spectre."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus