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Story At The Movies: Black Swan

Natalie Portman
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Welcome to the return of a movie review feature I first launched nearly 35 years ago on another radio station, but which now will form part of WGBF’s new blog content that will be a regular feature of this site from now on. “Story at the Movies” will be here occasionally when I happen to see a new movie I love, whether in a theater, on dvd, cable or Netflix. However, today I’d like to comment on a film everyone else seems to love and I loathed:  “Black Swan,”a pulsating piece of horrific pap, full of gory and twisted images, almost not-soft-core porn, and one of the years most “energetic” (hammy) performances I’ve seen, this time from Natalie Portman as a ballerina descending into madness. Two hours of this overwrought, full-tilt, high-volume performance almost drove me to walking out of the theater as it did a number of other theater-goers that day. But…what did Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times have to say:

Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” is a full-bore melodrama, told with passionate intensity, gloriously and darkly absurd. It centers on a performance by Natalie Portman that is nothing short of heroic, and mirrors the conflict of good and evil in Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake.” It is one thing to lose yourself in your art. Portman’s ballerina loses her mind.

There you have it – the tale of two differing opinions. Ebert and all the other national critics have made “Black Swan” into an art-house fave they think worthy of Oscars, and…little old me who knows an overdressed horror film when he smells one. You decide!

Roger Ebert

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