I saw Black Swan this weekend. It's impressive and worth seeing, despite having to sit in a theatre full of young girls looking for a movie about pretty ballerinas.
It's not a movie about pretty ballerinas.
There are pretty ballerinas in it but that's not the same thing.
It's a movie about lost opportunities, stolen spotlights, unreasonable expectations put on by others and ourselves, the quest for perfection and a good dose of mental health issues thrown in.
I learned a lot about Swan Lake. I learned a lot about ballet. I learned a lot about what makes me really uncomfortable about human behaviour.
When someone pours every ounce of themselves into one thing - ballet, ski jumping, whatever - it makes me uncomfortable. An athlete whose only focus is that Olympic gold medal - what if they don't get it? What if they do? Either way, when the event is over, they have to walk away and figure out who they are when they're not ski jumping.
People who pressure their children to follow a career or life path because they did, or perhaps because they tried and failed, make me really really uncomfortable. People need to be who they are, and they need the space and freedom to figure out who that is.
Careers that are based as much on beauty and youth as on real talent - uncomfortable again. It's hard enough to excel at something. Having the added pressure of hearing the clock ticking away in the background, knowing that time is limited - must be awful.
So yes, I enjoyed Black Swan and highly recommend it. But you're not going to leave the theatre with a warm fuzzy glow. You're going to be thinking about it for days. And that's a good thing.