DISCLOSURE: I wrote this three weeks ago. Barely needed edits… just forgot it was here. *shrugs*
Whew. I didn’t know what I was getting into.
I think that sums up what I and the main character Nina (Natalie Portman) felt during Black Swan.
I originally didn’t intend to see the film, because it looked like a chick flick. But then I kept hearing interesting reactions from people on Twitter and awards nominations that demanded I see what the big deal was about. As the story progressed, the first thing that struck me was that the soundtrack continued to be inspired by ballet music after they left the physical stage.
SPOILER ALERT: I’m not going to spoil anything.
In my opinion, this entire movie was a ballet. From beginning to end. And as one who would never willingly go to a ballet on my own, this was the most enjoyable “performance” I’ve ever seen. But I think that’s because this movie was the inverse of a ballet, rather than what I would traditionally expect. It pulled on your emotions from a deep place, with no apology, no gentleness. Nothing was left to your imagination. Every emotion that the story needed to express or exploit was done to the fullest extent.
This movie is about a girl stressing out about performing the lead role in Swan Lake. You knew that, right? For me, it was about every artist that’s asked to perform in a way they never have before, on cue. That was me up on that stage, without the makeup, leotard, woman parts… you get the point. We fight day in and day out to get past ourselves, our dysfunctions or human frailties to get these ideas out of our heads; to get ideas into our heads. Creativity is a beast, it’s a struggle. It’s not a science or a math test. You can’t simply learn a set of rules to get the right answer every time. When people ask me to “be creative”, seldom do they know the amazing experience I go through to take their project from generic and forgettable to something no one could’ve predicted at the beginning.
Over time I’ve learned the patience of inspiration. I can’t say that I always embrace it. It’s waiting for whatever God intends to use to hint, allure, drown or smack us in the face with “the answer” that will calm our nerves. Sometimes anxiety is the medium. Sometimes it’s silence. For this entry, it’s a quiet Panera bread right after a gripping cinema experience. But all in all, we are at the mercy of our muse, but thank God He’s built us to deal with that tension, let alone to receive what He downloads to us.