As tantalizing as the premise sounds, she eventually digressed into a rather scholarly discussion about how most of these scenes are sensationalized, how they objectify women, how unrealistic they are, and, of course, their gratuitousness.
I figured that the path of least resistance was to simply let her pontificate in taciturn silence, and pretend that I was listening. The much googled scene between Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman was the subject of her ire, with its alleged sensationalism leaving her shocked, and its critical acclaim leaving her chagrined.
To me, she said, the entire scene was meant to draw more male viewers. Before I had a chance to riposte, the line for the screening we were at started moving, and amidst the droves of people cramming the theater, I lost sight of her. But this is for you, whoever you are — an ode to anonymous. And who knows — if I succeed in the latter, I might just succeed in the former.
To best understand the scene is to understand the character of Nina Natalie Portman , and the best way to do that, is to analyze the character of Thomas Vincent Cassel. Nina is no exception. At the casting audition for the Swan Queen, Nina meek and mild performs with the upmost earnestness, which impresses Thomas to an extent.
Not just the prince, but the court, the audience, the entire world. But the Black Swan? In four years, every time I see you dance, I see you obsess, getting each and every move perfectly right, but I never see you lose yourself. Nina reciprocates, and when things get more heated, she bites him on the lip — a sign of things to come.
This scene reveals two things about Nina. The second is that, despite the first, she has a suppressed, volatile fervor. Underneath her glacial exterior lies a dancer of true, wanton passion, a dancer that can be the Black Swan. Notice the scene where she is walking home one night and passes someone that resembles is? She sees herself in other people, and always the darker side. More about that later. Much of her emotionally vitiated lineage can be traced back to her overbearing mother, Erica Barbara Hershey.
The real work will be your metamorphosis into her evil twin. And I know I saw a flash of her yesterday. So, get ready to give me more of that bite referring to the kiss. But the real question is how. Well, like always, Thomas has the answer. Do you enjoy making love? Do you enjoy it? Go home and touch yourself. If the White Swan represents purity and innocence, then the Black Swan, her evil twin, must represent seduction and licentiousness.
In order to inhabit the role, Nina has to unlock her hidden, repressed sexuality. Therefore, she has to be naughty. She has no other choice. After Beth gets into a car accident, Nina and Thomas share a heart-to-heart, and here is where Nina has her epiphany.
From some dark impulse. Even perfect at times. But also so damn destructive. In order to be the perfect Black Swan, Nina must embrace and exploit her buried reservoir of sexuality. Like Thomas always says, she needs to lose herself. But how can she do that? Notice that one scene, in her room, where she tries, only to find her mother sleeping in a chair right next to her.
As a San Francisco dancer recently relocated to New York, her timely introduction into the corps creates a lot of intrigue in Nina. She is new, outgoing, and free-spirited. Some may even call her an evil twin.
Secretly, Nina knows she needs to be like her, to be as seductive and sexually emancipated as she is. Lily is what she needs to strive to be, to become sexually. In a real sense, Nina must lust for her. She goes out with Lily, to get drunk, to get high, and to get laid.
However, she never takes her eyes and attention away from Lily, and when Nina once again acts on impulse after an altercation with her mother, the famous lesbian scene ensues. Initially Lily, she will eventually switch to an image of herself.
This does two things. Firstly, it shows how Nina is finally becoming the person that she has always wanted to be sexually, Lily. This is the beginning of her metamorphosis into someone like Lily, someone who can flawlessly play the Black Swan.
Secondly, this foreshadows the possibility of the entire affair being masturbatory, or hallucinogenic. Thomas instructed her to touch herself, and like always, Nina obeys.
After this scene, she is able to perform the Black Swan because she has become the sexualized, no-holds-barred person that she and Thomas wanted her to be. She has become perfect. Conceived and executed with sublime mastery, the lesbian scene is visceral, poetic, and unforgettably beautiful.