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Deeper Meaning Of The Black Swan Main Character

black swan

In “Black Swan,” Nina Battles A Mental Health Disorder

In the 2010 film, Black Swan, Natalie Portman’s Oscar-winning portrayal of a ballerina battling a mental health disorder is a feature that allows for the film’s descent into darkness, and it provocatively reveals the mind of the character, Nina, providing various twists and turns in the psychological horror film.

In Black Swan, Nina is a ballerina who is chosen to play the white swan, or Odette, while her new rival, Lily (played by Mila Kunis) is chosen to play the darker role of the black swan. During the training process of the ballet, not only do the people in Nina’s lives become more hostile, so does Nina’s mind. One of the people that keep worsening her condition is her mother, who has sole conservatorship over her daughter Nina, as enforced by the court. Not being able to leave unless it is for ballet training, Nina’s underlying condition worsens. Nina’s condition is not specifically named, but due to the paranoid sightings of seeing herself in mirrors, it could be said that she suffers from schizophrenia. Not only does she live in a horror movie with the people around her, the horror movie is also in her mind because of her mental illness.  

While watching Black Swan, each scene leads Nina into darker and darker paths. Being cast as the White Swan, who is known for her innocent nature, rather than the black swan, who is known for her more outgoing nature, takes a toll on Nina’s already declining mental state. During the practices, her conditions make her scratch her back until it bleeds, which could be a sign of underlying anxiety. This scratching gets worse until her overbearing mother sees and cuts her nails. After this, things for Nina keep getting twisting, now in rehearsal, her safe haven. Once her mother finds out about Nina and her constant scratching, she decides to move into Nina’s bedroom, her only spot away from her mother. The next morning, Nina comes to rehearsal exhausted. Then bad news hits Nina like a bus. Her close confidant, Beth, who was cast as the swan queen, is badly injured and placed in the hospital. After the announcement, the stress of her overbearing mother, and Beth’s injuries, takes a toll on Nina… and she finds her downward spiral accelerated.

nina in black swan

As her life becomes even more difficult, her mother asks if she would ever want to be with a man. Nina’s boss, who is already a narcissistic and arrogant man, begins to verbally abuse Nina during her practices. And on top of everything, Nina is cast as Beth’s replacement as the swan queen, which is a bigger part, which means more practices. On the day of the ballet in Black Swan, Nina’s mother, Erica, decides not to wake her daughter for her big night. Due to her lateness, the company has decided to replace Nina with Lily, who originally was the black swan. The sight of this deepens Nina’s paranoia and her anger. During her paranoid state, Nina runs to see Beth at the hospital. During the visit, Nina tells Beth that she has been replaced by Lily. Things take a turn however, when Nina calls Beth “perfect”.” After this compliment, Beth disagrees and begins to stab herself repeatedly in the face, leaving blood all over the shocked Nina.

After leaving the hospital, Nina begins to have a psychotic break. Nina, whose eyes used to be super clear, begin to turn red, much like a black swan. Her mother tries to get her to stay home, because of her worry that her daughter is sick. Nina leaves, however, ignoring her mother, and she angrily marches herself to the Ballet. Once she is there, her boss Thomas tries to talk some sense into Nina, but she refuses his advice and heads to her former dressing room, where Lily is seen for the last time in the film. Out of anger, Nina starts to fight dangerously with Lily, which shows Lily being eventually killed with a shard of glass by Nina. After this, Nina, who was once known as the fragile white swan, is turned into the evil black swan, and she subconsciously grows black wings, showing the audience that this is the role she was born to play.

During her triumphant performance, Nina nails every turn and twirl. It isn’t until the last dance of the show, where we as the audience, see that Nina is not ok. In the last dance, the black swan is transformed into the swan queen, who wears a white dress. During this dance, we see a red spot getting bigger; the red spot is blood. We now know the truth that the scene with Lily was a figment of Nina’s paranoid state. Lily is in the audience, not dead, much like the dressing room scene depicted. We now know that Lily was not stabbed by Nina, but Nina has stabbed herself with the glass shard and is now bleeding out. The final leap that Nina takes is, in fact, the last moment of her life. After she lands onto the mattress, she soaks up the applause and takes her final breath, as she realizes that she was perfect for once in her life…but also realizes that she was her own worst enemy.

With these examples in mind, we can see that horror movies can not only be what we see, but also how we feel… which can be a very dangerous thing.

Check out the official trailer for “Black Swan!”

Source: Dead Talk Live

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