This movie is so campy, like a horror film or a melodrama parody. I don’t think that’s the director’s intention. That said, I had a great time going out to see it. I would recommend this movie if you, like me, rarely get that chance and you are craving some well-produced, Hollywood escapism.
Here are some things I liked about it:
(1) Natalie Portman is a great actress. As always, she gives an excellent performance. But her role is kind of a one-note. She’s got Oscar buzz, but, in the same way her character is challenged in the movie, Portman doesn’t get much of a chance to show her “dark” side. (Though unlike her character, we all know Portman can pull off dark; it’s this script/ role that limit her here.)
(2) Some breaking of stereotypes. I thought this movie was going to have two female rivals who hate each other and wickedly compete for the star role. We’ve all seen this set up a million times. But Portman wins her role at the beginning of the movie. The movie is about how winning that prize affects her. Kunis and Portman are supposed to look alike in the psycho-girl-twin way Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh do in “Single White Female.” Kunis, I think, is wearing brown contacts to make that point, and they’ve got the “white swan” versus “black swan” thing going on which the movie beats to death in repetitive dialogue and symbolism. But Kunis’ character, Lily, is only out to get Nina in Nina’s head. Lily is actually supportive and funny. That Lily is evil only in fantasy is a cool, different take– the idea that women aren’t really all out to get each other! (Of course, Nina does have the quintessential psycho-mom who keeps her daughter locked away, as just seen in “Tangled”.)
(3) Many female parts: Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder are also in the movie. There is really only one male role. Other males have walk-ons as sex objects or as supporting dancers.