Black Swan - The SSL Review

I got to see a sneak peak here in Indy of Black Swan, and it is my super duper pleasure to do a little SSL reviewing of it. I'm just gonna say that this is a really well done movie. In fact, I think it is one of the rare movies that is exactly as I think it should be. I guess though I have to qualify that statement because although I really enjoyed it and I think it is a really high quality piece, I think that it could simply not be your taste. It's not really an easy going, something for everybody flick. It's focused and stylized, and I can certainly see people not being into the path the movie takes or the style it used to get there. I dug the hell out of it though. When I say I felt it was exactly as it should be, I mean that I don't have any complaints. I didn't leave thinking "that was really entertaining, but I wish that side character wasn't so stock"...or "Why did they throw that love story in? It was so overdone and made the movie drag"....etc. I'm not saying it was the best movie ever. It wasn't as funny as Harold and Kumar or the gut wrenching roller coaster of human emotion that is Jackass. It was, you might say, the best movie it could have been.

A vague review, yes, but it's the holidays. I'm busy, and I decided not to spend too much time on this post. Plus I think it will be more fun if you go in without a clear expectation as to what this movie is. However, If you want to be fully prepared for what to expect, I suggest you check out the 2nd installment of the Spanish director Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy, Carmen. Honestly, it's been 12 years since I saw that movie in my Spanish Cinema class, so I can't be sure how good it is, but watching Black Swan definitely made me think of this movie. They have practically the same concept, and from what I remember, the stylization is similar too.

Okay done with the general review, now for the good part...the SSL review. There were 3 scenes
in this movie that I thought were relevant to discuss, and the discussion is not too complicated. Simply, there were 3 times when a woman was depicted receiving sexual stimulation. Each time the woman either seemed to be heading towards orgasm or actually orgasmed. All three of these depictions met my standard for realism.

The first includes a man standing behind a woman, both fully clothed, rubbing her mons area with a full palm. She displayed growing sexual tension through vocal and body gestures but no orgasm. The stimulation was abruptly stopped shortly into the action.

The second was self stimulation. She was laying in bed on her stomach with her hand inside her panties. Both her hips and her hand were grinding against each other. The exact placement of her hand on her vulva, obviously, could not be seen, but it was clear that she was not inserting her finger(s) in her vagina. She was rubbing the outer genitals. This stimulation was once again abruptly stopped, but her intensity of movement seemed to indicate that an orgasm was more imminent than we saw before. I would like to point out 2 things about this scene. One, it's a good scene. You'll see what I mean when you see the movie. Two, for some reason women tend to masturbate on their stomachs in movies. There aren't many scenes out there where women are masturbating in a realistic manner, but when they are, it always seems to be while on their stomach. According to the Hite surveys, this is actually much less common among women than doing it while on their backs. People, for some reason must just think it works better on screen.

The third was simply a good ol eatin' out. We clearly saw that the person was between her legs stimulating the general clitoral area with her mouth/face, and this time there was an orgasm. As for how the orgasm was depicted, her orgasm acting lasted no more than 10 seconds, so that is appropriate and although she did make sounds during the orgasm, they were not over exaggerated. This was no porn screaming orgasm marathon. I have to also mention that this movie used beautiful stylized goosebumps in this scene that were a fantastic touch.

So, overall, I loved the movie and both female orgasm and female sexual stimulation were realistically depicted. Any gal could attempt to reenact these scenes and reasonably expect to have reactions similar to the actresses.

This gets the full 5 vulva rating people!

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  1. The Black Swan does pass the Bechdel test because but not by alot. There are many scenes where Nina and her mom are talking about ballet and there are also times where Nina and Lily talk about Nina's mom. Even though these conversations happen the conversations almost always end up about men or with men. In the scenes with Nina talking about ballet with her mom they eventually start talking about Nina's dance instructor. The same thing goes with Nina and Lily's conversations almost every time they speak together they end up talking about men. The black swan does not positively reinforce feminist ideology. In the beginning of the movie Nina is seen as weak and helpless little girl. We can see this by the way her mom and Thomas treat her. Throughout the movie Nina gradually becomes more self reliant and starts standing up for herself. Thomas leads the women while at the same time sexually harasses them and makes them compete for the jobs in many unethical ways.

  2. Well technically it meets all of the requirements of the test in it has more than two women in the film with names, two the film has two women talk to each other, and lastly these women have a conversation about something other than a man. For example, Nina and her mother talk constantly about the ballot and Nina's abusive impulses when she scratches herself. Also Nina and Lily talk about the Ballot as well, but I think it's not about whether it passes the test but the real question is does it represent the test. Meaning, does this movie have feminist ideology or empower women? In that case I would disagree, Nina is manipulated and abused throughout the movie by the director and does not realize it for that but just him teaching. The director is extremely handsy with his dancers, especially Nina. There is a scene about halfway through the movie where the director grabs Nina inappropriately and Nina just lets it happen. Although Black Swan shows great feats of skill and grace by women which you could say is ¨empowering¨ it depicts women as almost helpless who don't fully respect themselves by letting a man treat them the way he does. By the end of the film I feel Nina blossomed into a badass and became that Black Swan especially for the fact in the beginning of the film she performed the White Swan flawlessly and in the performance she falls. But, when she does the Black Swan in the final Performance she kills it. I also feel Nina turning into the Black Swan was ultimately the cause of her downfall. In conclusion yes Black Swan passes the Bechdel Test, but does not demonstrate feminist ideology and women empowerment.