“Black Swan” is, in a word, “disturbing.” There is no doubt that the film is well made, and that Natalie Portman pulls off a stunning performance. Rather than reviewing it as a movie worth seeing, I thought I’d comment on it from a Christian perspective. In what follows, there will be spoilers.
What kind of thoughts can the Christian take away from a movie like “Black Swan”? I think the most obvious point is that the Christian can reflect on the nature of sin. What will things of this world drive us to? In her pursuit of perfection, Nina (Natalie Portman) is driven to the depths of her soul’s darkness. She is lead to violent fantasies (it’s unclear as to whether much of the violence is real or not) and to sexual depravity. It all culminates in her self-destruction, sacrificing her life for the “perfect” performance of “Swan Lake.”
I think we can see similar themes in our own lives as Christians. We often pursue worldly passions–among them a well-paying career; a sexual sin; an addiction; or the like–rather than focusing on that which matters: our Lord. Yet Christians even have this very idea built into the fabric of their belief system: we are sinners, with the capacity for great evil within us. Indeed, we are “originally sinful” and “totally depraved”, by nature we are sinful and unclean. “Black Swan” poignantly portrays this. An innocent girl is driven to the depths of hell in her pursuit of the world. It’s maddening, it’s horrifying, it’s disturbing. Despite this, in a way, the story draws us in. We can relate to the obsession with the world in ways that should scare us. Perhaps that’s why I found “Black Swan” so frightening. It wasn’t a horror movie by any means–it has its thrills and chills–but mostly, the fear is of the reality that could be. Could we become the “Black Swan” ourselves?
Now, I’m not suggesting “Black Swan” is a Christian film. It has sin of almost every imaginable kind portrayed, sometimes graphically. My point is that Christians can take away a message from the movie. The pursuit of the world will lead only to darkness… a “perfection” which can only destroy.
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